Insect protein scale-up Goterra signs breakthrough offtake deal with fish feed group Skretting

Insect protein scale-up Goterra signs breakthrough offtake deal with fish feed group Skretting

Goterra founder and CEO Olympia Yarger, who was ACT Australian of the Year 2023.

The Australian arm of the world's largest fish feed business Skretting has entered a partnership with Canberra-based sustainability technology scale-up Goterra to source its insect protein derived from food waste, representing a breakthrough offtake deal aimed at reducing the environmental impact of an insatiable farmed seafood industry. 

Founded in 2016 by sheep farmer and last year's ACT Australian of the Year Olympia Yarger, Goterra uses waste to grow black soldier fly (BSF) larvae at its Canberra headquarters that is then seeded into the company's compact Modular Infrastructure for Biological Services (MIBS) units, which can be utilised at sites where enough food waste is generated.

Locations currently tapping into the Goterra model include a landfill in Albury, the Barangaroo precinct in Sydney, Melbourne Airport, Howard Smith Wharves in Brisbane, and Woolworths stores in Albury and Canberra, while the supermarket chain is also expected to supply 3,000 tonnes of food waste annually to a new project in the final stages of completion in Sydney's Wetherill Park.

Unlike another BSF larvae-based insect protein company with similar ambitions, Bardee - which entered administration last year with its brand sold and still operational under different owners - the Goterra model opted to focus primarily on the technology and protein production, but not on product development.

Goterra's commoditised insect protein has traditionally been sold to smaller local holders such as poultry farmers or local fish farms, but the new agreement with Skretting, a subsidiary of Dutch animal nutrition multinational Nutreco, gives Goterra a window into larger-scale possibilities

Goterra's insect larvae which eats food waste, hatches, and is turned into insect protein.
Goterra's insect larvae which eats food waste and is processed to become insect protein.

 

The company is currently undergoing a Series B raise in a bid to scale up its ambitions domestically and internationally, after an $8 million Series A in 2020 which was followed by a $10 million bridging round in 2023.

The agreement with Skretting Australia will see the pair collaborate on aquaculture feed innovation, helping to upscale key technologies required to mitigate food waste impacts while contributing to the sustainable production of Australian farmed seafood.

In a joint release from Skretting and Goterra, the two companies note that without the development and validation of new raw materials, aquaculture simply cannot grow in line with forecast demand.

Skretting Australia is working with Goterra to explore opportunities to validate this material in local aquaculture species. The main species the company highlights on its Australian website are Atlantic salmon, black tiger prawns, king salmon, barramundi and rainbow trout.

"We are very proud to work with Goterra to unlock this new local protein source to help scale up this emerging technology," says Skretting Australia's marketing manager Rhys Hauler.

"Our desktop analysis shows that Goterra’s insect meals have great potential to be used as a source of protein in our aquafeed.

"We are constantly looking for new low-cost, low-footprint ingredients to increase our raw material flexibility; Goterra insect meals offer the potential to deliver on both of these fronts."

Hauler adds that these materials are not only safe and sustainable, but also of a quality that protects the end product, maintaining the nutritional benefits consumers have come to expect from high quality seafood.

Olympia Yarger, Goterra's founder and CEO, says partnerships like these stabilise the foundation of a circular economy.

"Global business with regional inputs ensure stability of production, sustainability of inputs and ensure that Australian agriculture continues to deliver high quality produce with feed produced right here in Australia," she says.

"I could not be more proud to embark on this next stage of our journey."

Yarger references alarming food production shortfall figures which are forecast to be 20 per cent by 2050, highlighting the urgent need for food and feed producers to follow in Skretting’s sustainable footprints and find alternative sources of protein.

"Collaborating with our offtake customers like Skretting, contributes towards their ambitious ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) targets whilst also closing the loop of this circular value chain," she says.

"Circular economies need both clean, source separated inputs as well as long-term, economically sustainable, offtake markets. This collaboration realises the circular economy sustainably."

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