Cargill focusing on innovation as means of navigating global feed industry challenges

Cargill Global Price Risk Solutions Lead Rodrigo Navarro.

Wayzata, Minnesota, U.S.A.-based Cargill is a provider of aquaculture feed, operates 38 feed facilities in 20 countries and is one of the largest suppliers of feed to salmon producers in Norway, Chile, Scotland, the U.S., and Canada, and is also a leading supplier of feed to shrimp and tilapia farmers in China, Vietnam, and Thailand. In recent years, the company has continued to invest in aquaculture development by investing in research on new feeds and increasing capacity with joint ventures.

Rodrigo Navarro is the global price risk solutions lead for Cargill Animal Nutrition and Health, with responsibilities in risk management and sourcing. He has worked for Cargill for 13 years in trading and risk management and has an MBA in mergers and acquisitions and data analytics from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. He gave SeafoodSource a preview of Cargill’s approach to the seafood industry and its plans for the future.

SeafoodSource: The global aquafeed industry was unsettled in 2023, partially as a result of the cancelation of the Peruvian anchovy fishery. What is in store in 2024?  

Navarro: Cargill is well-positioned to help customers navigate uncertainty and we will continue to deliver on our sustainability commitments and nutrition in 2024, despite challenges faced by the Peruvian anchovy fishery. We anticipate oceanic conditions and weather anomalies will continue to have an impact on all parts of the global supply chain and want to help our customers navigate through the uncertainty. Cargill continues to prepare for these types of events from various angles, including risk management, nutrition, and sustainability. We are also working with several origin countries to expand fishery improvement projects (FIPs).

SeafoodSource: The salmon and shrimp industries have both seen big growth in recent years. What are companies like Cargill doing to keep up with aquafeed demand?

Navarro: We’re taking several steps to address demand, including exploring novel ingredient sources, investing in new technologies, and sourcing sustainable raw materials. It starts with working with our customers to understand their feed needs and provide the right nutrition solutions and a tailored risk management solution approach. Our commitment to sustainability is an important aspect of our business strategy, influencing decisions of how we balance animal health, performance, and environmental impact for the benefit of our customers and the planet. This includes partnering across our industry to explore innovative ingredients for both land-based and aquatic species to reduce our carbon footprint while meeting the increasing demand for protein. 

SeafoodSource: In April 2022, Cargill took a 24.5 percent stake in Chilean salmon farmer Multi X. What benefits has Cargill gained from that relationship?

Navarro: At Cargill, we seek to be a differentiated leader in the seafood industry, combining innovation with operational excellence to enable greater affordability and integrity of supply chains for our customers and consumers. This partnership leverages our capabilities across the value chain, including consumer insights, culinary innovation, value-added processing know-how, risk management, and fish nutrition and health solutions. As a result, we hope to provide more customers and consumers with access to Multi X’s high-quality portfolio of private label and branded salmon products.

SeafoodSource: Which areas of the world is Cargill targeting for further development? Are there any announcements pending on new feed plants you’re willing to talk about?

Navarro: My responsibilities are in risk management and sourcing, so I’ll focus on the sourcing side of the supply chain. At Cargill we have embraced innovation in ingredient sourcing, notably incorporating novel sources such as insect protein to address current challenges. Recognizing the environmental benefits, we ... 

Photo courtesy of Cargill

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