– The timing is good. We will contribute to increased value creation from renewable resources, explained Margareth Øverland, Centre Director for Foods of Norway and Professor at NMBU.
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.
The Foods of Norway consortium consists of nine academic partners and 14 industry partners, and the work has already started.
– We have started to develop the methods we will use and important infrastructure is established, including the new biorefinery at NMBU. The biorefinery will play an important role in the process to develop novel feed ingredients, Øverland said.
Trees as feed ingredient
At the kick-off, Øverland highlighted among other issues how the conversion of natural bioresources into novel feed ingredients can reduce today’s dependency on soy imports and contribute to sustainable growth in aquaculture.
– In 2013, Norway produced 1.3 million tons of farmed salmon. The estimates for 2050 are five million tons. The bottle neck, however, is feed access. In Norway, we have limited areas of agricultural land. But we do have a lot of forest. In Foods of Norway, one of the solutions we will look into is how trees can become high-quality feed, Øverland said.
Representatives from the Norwegian Ministry of Agriulture and Food and the Research Council of Norway expressed their enthusiasm:
– Foods of Norway is an important and timely initiative, which can contribute to a more sustainable bioeconomy, said Leif Forsell, Secretary General in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
– Foods of Norway aims to solve some of our main challenges. You have a strong consortium. We have high expectations that the collaboration between research and industry will provide innovative solutions, said Executive Director at The Research Council of Norway’s Division for Innovation, Anne Kjersti Fahlvik.
NMBU Rector Sundli Tveit expressed her enthusiasm for the new, emerging bioeconomy:
– This university is ready to be a cradle for innovation. What Foods of Norway is all about, is to make a difference – for society and for industry.