Protein is an essential part of the diet – for both humans and animals – but how we produce and use that protein has implications for the environment. As the population of the planet grows and more and more people need feeding, it is critically important that we find ways to meet their nutritional needs in a responsible and resource efficient way.
The EU only produces around one third of the protein needed to feed its animals, meaning it is a long way from self-sufficiency. Soya is one of the most effective imported protein sources for animal feed but there is concern about deforestation in South America from where much of it is imported. This is why we have been so involved in developing European industry (FEFAC) soy sourcing guidelines to enable mass market supply of responsible soy into Europe. There are many initiatives already in this area and to maximise their use, FEFAC has developed a set of criteria and verification rules, against which existing schemes can be independently benchmarked. Nine schemes already meet these criteria and the FEFAC Soy Sourcing Guidelines are starting to make an impact towards achieving mainstream responsible soy in Europe.
As well as these concerns about soya, other key sources of protein for feeding animals and fish, such as fishmeal, are becoming limited. Fishmeal is one of the main sources of protein for most aquatic diets, however the FAO recorded in 2011 that 90% of global sea fish stocks were fully or over-exploited, leading to severe consequences for marine ecosystems. We cannot solely rely on existing sources of protein as our main means of feeding animals and fish, we need to focus on developing new sources of protein to meet the global challenge.
AB Agri has a business entirely devoted to solving the global protein challenge, Agilia is a dynamic business focused on developing innovative functional proteins. Its portfolio of functional proteins covers 3 categories:
Better Application of Technology
Soya will always play a vital part in livestock diets but our mission is specifically to help unlock the functional ingredients and nutritional elements contained within Soya. AlphaSoy is a global brand which delivers targeted nutrition and functional benefits to baby pigs worldwide. While AlphaSoy Gold is designed specifically for use in antibiotic-free poultry diets. The product boosts health and performance, enabling poultry producers to achieve high productivity - without the use of antibiotics.
Getting More Value Out of Co-products
Co-product use and innovation is a core elements within a cyclical, sustainable food system. Agilia are also focused on identifying suitable co-product protein sources that can be further processed to unlock value or combined with other products to deliver enhanced functionality.
New Protein Sources
Working in collaboration with FERA, the environmental research agency, we have conducted a three-year project to see if the larvae of the housefly might be a potential future source of protein. These housefly larvae grow successfully using animal manure as a feedstock – of which there is a plentiful supply on farms. Our work proves that the larvae are a highly digestible, high quality sources of protein for animals. We are currently exploring how we deliver this and other new proteins, sustainably, at scale, whilst also ensuring the solution is cost effective and delivers the right nutritional package for animals to thrive without the use of antibiotics.