The industry partners are eager to start and have high expectations. Foods of Norway aims to increase value creation in the Norwegian aquaculture, meat and dairy industries by developing novel feed ingredients from natural bioresources and by improving feed utilization through industrial exploitation of cutting-edge research on processing and biotechnology, nutrition, health, genetics and food quality.
– We consider Foods of Norway to be a prestige project and have high expectations. This is a large, long-term and innovative research project which enables us to create synergies between industry and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), says Jessica Kathle, Senior Advisor in the Federation of Norwegian Agricultural Co-operatives.
Kathle predicts that Foods of Norway’s research results will provide a basis for increased Norwegian feed production and reduced feed import.
– All our member organizations that participate in Foods of Norway express great enthusiasm. We want to demonstrate that Norwegian agriculture is the forefront and supports research, Kathle says.
Feed efficiency or reduced costs
This view is shared by Managing Director in Felleskjøpet Fôrutvikling (FKF), Knut Røflo:
– Foods of Norway enables us to bring together key research and industry partners to build upon and improve existing knowledge to develop commodities that are more sustainable and provide positive health effects for animals and people.
FKF’s ambition is to have at least one commercial feed ingredient available by 2022 that can either enhance feed efficiency or reduce feed costs.
– New knowledge and innovation are crucial for us, so we will take an active role in the research project. We will have one person employed by Foods of Norway to test and document novel feed ingredients, Røflo says.
Knowledge base for commercialization
Foods of Norway’s industry partner Borregaard has an advanced biorefinery to produce a wide range of products and fine chemicals from lignocellulosic biomass. Technology Director Business Development at Borregaard AS, Gudbrand Rødsrud, firmly believes that the combination of plentiful natural bioresources, world class bio-refineries and the cross-disciplinary research centre at NMBU is a recipe for success.
– If anyone can make it, we can.
Borregaard will provide sugars from Norwegian spruce and yeast biomass for in vivo testing in fish and farm animals. Previous research has demonstrated that yeast has several positive health effects compared with soy as a source of protein.
– A main challenge, however, is price, as production costs are too high for yeast to be a competitive product as a new protein source. If through Foods of Norway we can uncover more qualities of a novel feed ingredient such as yeast, this will mean that we can promote an enhanced product. To have a solid knowledge base will be crucial for commercialization, Rødsrud says.