IFFO is an international trade organisation that represents and promotes the marine ingredients industry, such as fishmeal, fish oil and other related industries.
Marine ingredients are nutritious products used mainly for aquafeed, land animal feed as well as for human consumption and are derived from marine organisms such as fish, krill, shellfish and algae. IFFO's members reside in more than 50 countries, account for over 60% of world production and 80% of the fishmeal and fish oil traded worldwide. IFFO is an accredited Observer to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Now that we’re back from IFFO’s 58th Annual Conference, it’s a good time to reflect on the main messages and act on them. With delegates attending from across the globe and from each area of our industry, discussions during these important three days were very fruitful.
It was a great opportunity to meet and get to know our close knit community of members and supporting organisations and I’ve come away with some clear takeaways from discussions, presentations and panel discussions. Marine ingredients play a vital and essential role also in the future of the aquaculture and animal feed industries. To communicate the true value that marine ingredients play, we need to expand our focus in the broader value chain. It is our responsibility to then engage and communicate in these key areas, being transparent as an industry and continuing to follow an evidence based approach.
The IFFO Board is investing in these steps already, and adding to our evidence based approach, our technical projects include focusing on how fishmeal quality relates to farmed salmon nutrition, and comparing the production of marine protein with plant protein in terms of environmental impacts. Working to improve the perception of our industry in developing regions, we continue with a new project focusing on the West African fishmeal industry. We will keep the momentum built up over this successful conference and look forward to sharing the successes of our proactive approach at next year’s conference in Shanghai.
Day 3 started with the Market Forum 2 session, focusing on demand in fishmeal and fish oil. The session opened with Market Forum Chairman Hans de Wit and the first presentation of the session was by Christian Meinich (Partner, Chr.Holtermann ANS), who gave an update on the global fish oil trade. Starting with price, Meinich showed that fish oil prices have fluctuated due to fishing seasons in Peru and have reduced this year on average due to reliable demand volumes. Uncertainty surrounding the importation of fish oil for human consumption from Peru into the EU has increased fluctuation in prices. Meinich noted that the industry is still waiting for the final report from the EU commission regarding this and the market should stabilise once it has been published. Peru’s action plan has helped give certainty to the markets. Consumption trends are reflecting production trends, aquafeed demand is rising, particularly in Chile and Norway and demand for fish oil for nutraceuticals has also risen slightly. Regarding EPA/DHA based fish oil, Meinich noted that sufficient supplies combined with improved fatty acid profiles for the Omega 3 industry has meant that supply has matched demand. He closed by mentioning the alternatives markets, including algae and GMO vegetable oils, stating that interest continues to grow in these products.
Day 2 started with the usual hustle and bustle of members using every moment to network in between the two sessions which focused more on the science and market intelligence for the industry. The morning featured the Market Forum 1 session, where IFFO’s Producers and Premium members share market insights on their specific countries. Market Forum Chairman, Hans de Wit, opened proceedings and welcomed members, he was then followed by IFFO’s Dr Enrico Bachis (Market Research Director) who presented the updated producer fishmeal and fish oil estimates for 2018 (based on aggregated actual production data/forecasts). The rest of the morning session included updates on production across the IFFO members’ countries.
IFFO’s President Eduardo Goycoolea opened this year’s IFFO Annual Conference in Rome by welcoming the 440 delegates attending from 45 countries. Goycoolea stated that this conference will not shy away from the tough questions aimed at the industry and which are often answered with myths and not facts by those who do not know the industry in detail. These questions included: IFFO’s role as a representative body for the industry; whether growth in marine ingredients is still possible; are both supply and price stable; and is production both sustainable and responsible? Showing the latest market data, Goycoolea then illustrated that while production of marine ingredients from whole fish has remained stable, the production of marine ingredients from by-products has grown substantially and has huge future potential. Price volatility is no more variable than other vegetable proteins and has remained on average stable for the last decade. Finally, the industry is moving towards more responsible and sustainable production, as shown by the rise in IFFO RS complaint production to 51% of global production estimated for 2018. Goycoolea concluded that marine ingredients play a key role in the global food supply chain and the true value to both animal and human health is becoming more and more recognised.
Following three days of fascinating discussions, IFFO’s new Director General Petter Martin Johannessen stated that the industry has some key next steps that have been highlighted through the conference discussions. The event, which is the highest attended European event for the trade organisation, consisted of three days of market, technical and general industry discussions. In his closing remarks, Johannessen noted that the dominant message that remained consistent throughout was the industry’s need to improve how it communicates and engages with its stakeholders. Johannessen’s concluding message was “we have listened, are listening, and going forward IFFO will focus on three core areas. First, engaging our stakeholders from across the value chain, positioning marine ingredients as having the true value they have. Second, proactively communicating that true value and their unique and important role in global food production, while analysing new areas that are ready for innovation. And third, an evidence based approach means that we will stick to the facts and be transparent in our activities. We have a good story to tell and it’s our responsibility as both IFFO and the wider industry to tell it”.