Auchan retail France and InnovaFeed launch a new responsible fish industry

On 17 October 2017, Innovafeed, an innovator in insect breeding and processing for farmed fish, and retailer Auchan Retail France formalised their partnership via the signing of a joint declaration of intent for even more responsible and sustainable aquaculture


The world’s rapidly growing population, which is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, is leading to an exponential increase in fish consumption. As ocean resources can no longer meet this demand, aquaculture is expanding rapidly. In this context, in order to continue its expansion, the aquaculture industry is looking for innovations that will allow it to further reduce the use of wild fishmeal included in the feed of farmed fish. Today, the production of fishmeal for aquaculture consumes one third of the world’s fish catch.

InnovaFeed, a company founded in 2015, has therefore developed a sustainable alternative to address this issue and thus preserve ocean resources. Indeed, the teams of this innovative French company have developed an insect-based protein meal that is just as nutritious for fish. This innovation is based on the principle of bio-mimicry, given that most farmed fish, such as trout or salmon, naturally eat insects in the waterways. It is therefore a 100% natural solution. Moreover, it is entirely sustainable because the insects are fed solely by reusing agricultural by-products, particularly from starch factories, which are not suitable for human consumption. It is therefore a short-loop model that can be deployed in France and creates value for both farmers and fish farmers.

By building its insect flour production unit in Gouzeaucourt, in the Hauts-de-France region, InnovaFeed has chosen to set up in the heart of the largest deposit of cereal co-products in Europe. The opening of this production unit has already led to the creation of a dozen direct jobs in this region. As Guillaume Gras, co-founder of InnovaFeed, says, “This is just the beginning! As was the case with our first partner fish farmers, we hope that the entire fish farming industry will soon use insect protein meal, for even more sustainable aquaculture. New factories and thus additional jobs will follow in the months and years to come. By 2030, the value-added potential of the entire insect industry in Europe would be in the order of €3 to 5 billion, with the creation of 20,000 to 30,000 jobs.


Auchan Retail France was attracted by this approach. For several years, the company has been committed to responsible fish trading (stopping the sale of certain endangered species, action in favour of the reproduction of species…) and in 2017 it launched a militant action for good, healthy and local. The meeting between Guillaume Gras and Jacques Le Cardinal, Head of Fishmongers at Auchan Retail France, under the sign of curiosity and then of mutual interest, led to the retailer’s immediate support for the entrepreneurs. To formalise this desire to move forward together towards even more responsible aquaculture, the two partners decided to sign a joint declaration of intent on 17 October 2017 at the Maison des Océans in Paris.

This partnership will result in the creation of a responsible farmed trout chain, following the standards respected by the 50 other chains already co-constructed by Auchan Retail France with its partners in the agricultural and agri-food world. Three fish farmers, referenced by Auchan Retail France, have been part of the process from the outset, integrating InnovaFeed’s insect proteins into the feed for their farmed trout. The first ones should be marketed in a few pilot shops of Auchan Retail France in early 2018. This unprecedented commitment is supported by the European MrGoodFish programme, which has been working for many years to preserve the oceans as part of the World Ocean Network. As a result, all fish from this innovative aquaculture sector will be awarded the precious label.

Finally, according to Jacques Le Cardinal, Head of Fishmongers at Auchan Retail France, “the aim is to extend the sale of these farmed fish to all Auchan shops and to diversify the species of fish fed with insect meal. We are thinking in particular of salmon. Great prospects for an even more sustainable and responsible aquaculture.

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