May 2, 2023


Sumitomo set to sell insect-based feed for farmed fish in Japan




Japan's Sumitomo Corp. will begin selling insect-based feed for farmed fish in Japan later this year, becoming the country's first large trading house to do so.


The company aims to import and sell 30,000 tonnes of insect feed by 2030.


Sumitomo recently acquired exclusive distribution rights in Japan from Singapore-based startup Nutrition Technologies, in which it has a stake. The startup grinds larvae of black soldier flies into a powder to make fish feed and pet food. Nutrition Technologies produces about 3,000 tonnes of insect feed annually, which would make it the second-largest volume in the world.


Sumitomo's target sales will account for 7.5% of the 400,000 tonnes of fishmeal consumed in Japan. The price will be around ¥200,000 (US$1,490) per tonne, about the same as that for fishmeal.


Nutrition Technologies hopes that the sustainability of the product will be key to competitiveness. For example, the company buys wood waste generated from the production of processed food from makers and feeds it to the flies. This also helps the makers cut carbon dioxide emissions, as the wood waste would otherwise be burned.


In addition, no heating devices will be needed for growing the flies, as the company's plants are located in Southeast Asia to take advantage of the tropical climate. Two competitors in the industry, Protix of Holland and Innovafeed of France, have larger production capacities but need electricity for heating due to their facilities being in Europe.


Japan's insect feed market is still small and there is very little data available about it. The country's edible insect market — which is said to be larger than that for insect feed — came to around 1.4 billion yen in 2022, according to Osaka-based TPC Marketing Research.


Sumitomo hopes to accumulate marketing know-how in Japan for later use when it taps into global markets.


- Nikkei Asia

Video >

Follow Us