/ News / Key players of the poultry value chain join forces to evaluate insect-derived feed ingredients in poultry diets

Key players of the poultry value chain join forces to evaluate insect-derived feed ingredients in poultry diets

Key players of the poultry value chain. (Photo credits Guy Ackermans) f.l.t.r [Michel van Spankeren – Protix, Joost Sparla – ForFarmers, Arya Rezaei Far - Wageningen Livestock Research, Josef Benedikt Bachmeier - PHW Group, Willem Tel  - Esbro, Istvan Fodor - Wageningen Livestock Research,  Ziming Wang -Wageningen Livestock Research (internship),  Piet van Wikselaar - Wageningen Livestock Research,  Jan van Harn - Wageningen Livestock Research,  Teun Veldkamp - Wageningen Livestock Research (project leader) - Leon Luyben – Protix]



A consortium of Dutch poultry chain players is joining forces in a public-private partnership regarding insects as a source of protein in poultry diets. Protix, ForFarmers, PHW Group's Dutch entity Esbro, Venik and Wageningen Livestock Research will be working closely together during the next two years. Their joint effort is to investigate how insect ingredients from the black soldier fly in poultry feed, affect sustainability, health & welfare parameters of slow-growing broiler chickens.


By nature insects are a favourable source of food for poultry. Feeding insects to poultry now is an interesting opportunity to transform low-value organic by-products into high-quality feed ingredients, since the European Commission approved the use of insect meal in poultry and pig feed in September 2021. This opportunity could expand the range of feed raw materials for chicken producers, but further information is still needed for the entire poultry chain. The consortium is going to move diligently forward on a science-based approach to evaluate potentially value-adding elements of chicken diets containing insect ingredients from the black soldier fly (BSF).


Three phases

The research project will be conducted in three phases, starting May 31, 2022, with a pilot to study effects of different inclusion levels of BSF larvae-derived ingredients in poultry feed. Based on the outcomes of this pilot, different broiler diets will be tested on large scale in chicken farms. In the third phase BSF products in broiler diets in combination with other alternative regionally grown protein sources will be tested to study these effects.


Leading the way

The Netherlands is an international market leader with a strong, innovative, and highly productive agri-food sector. In public private partnerships (PPP), businesses, knowledge institutions and government work together to find solutions for more sustainable feed materials. This new PPP supports the Dutch national Knowledge & Innovation agenda and the National Protein strategy as well as the European Commission Farm to Fork strategy – promoting a circular agri-food system with the use of sustainable and local ingredients. The PPP aims to contribute to reducing the reliance of EU livestock farming on proteins from third countries while simultaneously advancing circular agriculture. 


Marcus Keitzer, Board member of PHW Group and responsible for Alternative proteins says “Continuous identification and science-based evaluation of innovative alternatives to conventional poultry feed ingredients are important elements of our sustainability strategy. Therefore, we aim to investigate the specific impact of the inclusion of insect-derived feed components in poultry diets in slow growing broiler chicken from various angles. This PPP enables us to do this jointly with some of the most renowned institutions in the insect and agricultural sector in Europe.”


Today’s unprecedented times painfully reveal the urgency to restore the balance with nature. Sustainable ingredients play an important role in this. according to Kees Aarts, founder and CEO of Protix. “At Protix we were born from sustainability, and we are proud to join forces with these pioneers and work together in an integrated value chain approach.


“The growing global demand for animal protein calls for innovative and sustainable feed and farm solutions. Insect protein could have an important role as an alternative and sustainable protein source in animal feed. This partnership is a great example of the ambition and responsibility of ForFarmers to develop our knowledge and innovate For the Future of Farming”, states Joost Sparla, Marketing Director Poultry at ForFarmers.



About PHW Group

PHW, located in Rechterfeld (Germany), operates business units in the segments poultry, alternative proteins and health. The group is vertically integrated and holds a market leading position in Europe with it’s poultry business unit, in conventional poultry products as well as in the area of alternative animal welfare rearing concepts. Furthermore, the group has launched a number of initiatives towards dietary concepts of the future and holds a strong position as a provider for high-quality protein products with it’s poultry and alternative protein business units. Therefore, the business unit “alternative proteins” is being rigorously developed for growth in order to shape the dietary mix of the future next to and beyond poultry products.

The PHW Group, which consists of more than 35 subsidiaries, employs a total of 8,900 staff across Europe (FY20/21). In FY20/21, the Group reported sales totalling €2,768 billion.


About Protix

Protix breeds larvae from the Black Soldier Fly and is the market leader in insect-based nutrition for healthy and sustainable feed and food. Organic waste from the food industry serves as feed for the insects. In turn, the insects are processed into sustainable ingredients like proteins and lipids. Protix has built the first-in-the-world industrial insect facility and has laid the basis for a broad range of certified applications in feed and food and is a founding member of Venik, the Dutch association of insect breeders. Protix contributes to a food system that is in balance with nature.


About ForFarmers

ForFarmers Nederland offers complete and innovative feed solutions for conventional and organic livestock farming. With its “For the Future of Farming” mission, ForFarmers is committed to the continuity of farming and to further increasing the sustainability of the agricultural sector. That is why ForFarmers’ specialised consultants work side by side with the farmer to achieve tangible results: better returns, healthier livestock, and greater efficiency.
ForFarmers De Hoop is the broiler division as part of ForFarmers Nederland, a subsidiary of ForFarmers N.V., the market leader in Europe with annual sales of around 10 million tons of animal feed. ForFarmers N.V. is operating in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Poland, and the United Kingdom. The organisation has approximately 2,500 employees. In 2021, the turnover amounted to approximately € 2.7 billion. ForFarmers N.V. is listed on Euronext Amsterdam.


About Wageningen Livestock Research

Wageningen Livestock Research is a leading international player in the area of scientific research on livestock farming systems and nutrition, genetics, animal health and welfare and the environmental impact of domestic animals. In addition, we also lead the market in terms of working together with clients and other players in the sector to integrate and translate scientific knowledge from various disciplines into livestock farming concepts for future generations.

Wageningen Livestock Research develops pioneering and innovative solutions and supports their implementation for the benefit of a sustainable and economically profitable livestock sector (including insects) in the future.

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