F3 Fish-Free Feed Challenge

To encourage innovation of alternative ingredients for aquafeeds, improve the industry's sustainability, and reduce pressure on fisheries. Read Overview...
Funding goal
$200,000
pledged
$200,100
Overview

Our challenge is for an aquafeed company to either produce and sell the most seafood-free aquaculture feed using innovative formulations of proteins and lipids by the challenge end date, September 15, 2017, or be the first to reach 100,000 metric tons (mT) of seafood-free feed sales, verified by the judging committee.

 

The Problem

Many of the world’s wild fish stocks are in rapid decline.  A major source of the decline in fish stocks is demand for wild fish meal and oil that typically ends up in feed for aquaculture. Seven of the world’s top ten fisheries (by volume) target forage or low trophic level fish, 90 percent of which are processed into fish meal and fish oil used in aquaculture feeds.  Most scientists agree that for aquaculture to continue its necessary expansion, we must find alternative ingredients.

What is more, forage or low trophic level fish are the food for cod, salmon, tuna, dolphins, sharks, seals, sea lions, penguins, sea birds, and whales.  As a cornerstone in the ocean food chain, maintaining their stocks is of critical and strategic importance for preserving life in the oceans.  In fact, experts think that the record numbers of starving sea lions and the nesting failure of brown pelicans this year is attributable to collapsing Pacific sardine fisheries from California to Peru.

The industry has made tremendous strides to vastly increase yields of aquaculture products with limited supplies of fish meal and fish oil.  While management of these forage fisheries continues to improve, more innovation is needed to find additional ingredients and cost effective formulations if the industry is to become even more sustainable, and compete with beef, poultry and pork.  We want to encourage this innovation. 

 

The Challenge Breakthrough

The goal of this challenge is to reduce demand of wild-caught stocks, by accelerating the availability of cost-competitive, viable seafood-free options.  The research community and forward looking feedmills have already utilized a large number of seafood free ingredients including grains, terrestrial animal by-products, distillery and brewery by-products, algae (seaweed) products, and other plant and animal processing by-products. We acknowledge the availability of responsible sources of fish meal and oil, but our concern is to look beyond this source.  If fish meal and oil is limiting the future, how can aquaculture continue to grow?  There are sufficient alternatives today for fish meal and fish oils, and we need to encourage the use of these alternatives.

The F3 prize's goal is to showcase aquafeed companies who accelerate their sales of seafood-free alternatives.  Sales are only possible if the company has innovated fish meal and fish oil free alternatives in cost and quality, such that it is commercially viable.  Eventually, our hope is that these innovations lead to a new product category for consumers, the equivalent of 'grass-fed seafood', where seafood that is innovative and more environmentally friendly receives special attention.

 

How to Win the Challenge

The prize will go to the company that either sells the most seafood-free aquaculture feed by the Challenge end date, September 15, 2017, or is first to sell 100,000 mT of seafood-free feed, verified by the judging committee. 

The sum total of aquaculture feeds sold for a variety of aquacultured species (for salmon, tilapia, carp, catfish, etc.) will be counted so long as they are free of fishery products and by-products. Due to the difficulty of parsing out seafood sources, squid, shrimp and krill as well as byproduct meals and oils will not be counted. Terrestrial animal by-products and GMO grains are considered to be admissible ingredients.

A single prize of the total funds pledged will be awarded to the first company that meets the winning criteria.

 

Duration

The challenge will conclude on September 15, 2017 or when the judging committee has verified a company has sold 100,000 mT of qualifying feed, whichever comes first.

 

Who Can Participate

The Challenge is open only to companies that brand and sell feed to aquaculture businesses.  These companies can also include the qualifying F3 sales volumes of their licensees only if licensee sales volumes are not included in their own revenue reports, i.e. their sales volumes are not double counted.

Channel partners to such companies, including but not limited to, their respective suppliers of ingredients, contract manufacturers, processors, distributors, Formula Licensees, marketers, resellers, and retailers are not eligible on their own to compete in F3, but can partner with a feed producer to compete. More information and examples here.

Companies, please note: you do not need to be selling 100,000 mT of seafood-free feed as of today to participate; 100,000 mT is only the sales target at which the prize will be awarded if reached prior to the challenge end date. 

Partnership and licensee information must be sent to f3fishfreefeed@gmail.com (see FAQ section for requirements).

 

Registration and Submissions

Before 11:59:59 p.m. PT on April 30, 2016, feed companies that wish to participate are required to register as contestants through this website and send the following information to f3fishfreefeed@gmail.com: the name of the company, and the name of the authorized representative, title, address, work phone number, mobile phone number, and email address of the contact person.  The same contact information needs to be included for each licensee.  By registering for this challenge, you agree to participate and comply with the full challenge rules. The full text is here and it is summed below:

By registering to participate, you agree that: 

1. You have the authority to enter the challenge on behalf of the company.  2.  Your company brands and sells feed to aquaculture companies.  3. You agree that you are the owner of the submission and that you have the rights and permissions to enter the submission. 4. You agree to share your ingredient lists for the qualifying feeds; 5. You agree to report sales volumes and buyers for the qualifying feeds; 6. You hold at least $1 million in Commercial General Liability insurance with limits of at least $1 million combined single limit bodily injury and property damage liability.  7. You agree to comply with additional examinations and verifications by the Judges outlined in the Challenge agreement.  8. You agree that if you win, to appear at two different venues to receive the prize.

At the judging committee's expense, feed samples from the mill and/or randomly selected from farms will be submitted for lab analyses to confirm lack of fisheries products.  The judges may also verify volume by comparing sales figures with the aquaculture production volume from the buyer's farms. This information, with the exception of sales volumes, will be held in confidence by the judging committee and used only for the purpose of determining the winner of the prize. The sales volumes will be periodically tallied and displayed on the F3 website.  

The complete judging criteria and Challenge terms are embedded in the online registration agreement.

 

Feed Sample Submission:

On or before September 30, 2016, each company must submit their feed for examination by the Judges by sending the feed ingredients and feed samples to the University of Arizona (1140 E. South Campus Drive, Forbes Building, Room 306, Tucson, AZ 85721 USA Attn: Kevin Fitzsimmons). Feed samples must include at least one (1) kilogram of each "feed type" that the company would like to have qualified in connection with this challenge. "Feed type" means any distinct formulation to be used to feed one or more species or life stages of marine life. The sample should be submitted with the attending label printed with the guaranteed analysis and list of ingredients. Alternatively, a sample of a commercial bag of feed with the label sewn on would be acceptable as well.  Among other analyses, these samples will be independently tested for proximate analyses, lipid analyses, as well as genetic identification to ensure that no fish, squid or crustacean components are contained within. We do NOT require the formulation of the diet as we assume that is the company's intellectual property.

 

Sales Submissions (1-4):

On or before the 20th day of January, and 15th day of April, July, and September 2017, each company must submit their quarterly sales volume information for verification by the Judges by sending a list of (i) all their customers, and their gross volume of feed sold, and (ii) the foregoing information set forth in (i) for all their licensees' sales of their qualifying feed to f3fishfreefeed@gmail.com.  Note: the judges may conduct random site visits to customers to verify sales statistics.

*No submissions will be accepted after the submission deadlines. Incomplete submissions will not be accepted.

Challenge Guidelines are subject to change. Registered competitors will receive notification when changes are made, however, we highly encourage you to visit the Challenge Site often to review updates.

Challenge Status: The Challenge registration period is now closed.

Challenge Funding: To-date, the challenge has received more than $140K of crowdsourced funds, with the prize now totaling $200,100. The Challenge is still accepting donations to increase the prize amount. 

Timeline
Forum (5)
Community
Activity feed
FAQ

No.  In fact, we are considering another prize targeted towards recycling farmed fish waste.   However, for this prize we want to increase the options available for alternative protein sources since the supply of wild caught fish and in particular, forage fish, is at risk.  More innovation is needed to find additional ingredients and cost effective formulations if the industry is to continue to grow.

While we acknowledge that aquaculture by-products are a responsible source of fish meal and oils, at this time, testing does not allow differentiation of aquaculture by-products from wild capture fishery products.

There is a lot of good information on fishing bycatch and the processed waste of seafood being used as ingredients back into aquaculture diets, normally for unrelated species. While we agree that these are efficient uses of these resources, there are also many problems. Bycatch and seafood processing byproducts are often and increasingly used for direct human consumption. In addition, removing forage fish and bycatch from the ocean impacts animals higher in the marine food chain, such as seabirds, marine mammals, and larger fish. Many studies have documented the decline in large predatory species. It is also important to point out that processing waste produces low-quality fish meal and fish oil, as high-quality protein and oils have been removed. The high bone and scale content meal that is left is an inferior ingredient, but nevertheless does contribute 10-15% of the global fish meal supply and extends the supply of fish meal as overfishing continues in some parts of the world.

Yes, the Challenge is open to companies worldwide. However, English is the official language for submissions and all other communications for the Challenge. International competitors need to translate any communications into English for their submissions to be considered.

The timeline for the contest mirrors a product development cycle for feed. We anticipated that feed companies developing new products would require up to 5 months after the contest announcement to determine if they could register (think approvals in a large company), several months more to formulate samples, and then 8 months more to ramp up sales towards 100,000 metric tons.

Before 11:59:59 p.m. PT on April 30, 2016, register your company by visiting the challenge page (https://herox.com/F3), clicking the orange 'Start Here' button, agreeing to the contest rules, and sending the following information to f3fishfreefeed@gmail.com:

- the name and address of your company

- the name, title, work phone number, mobile phone number, and email address of the contact person at your company

If you wish to include in your sales reports the volume of feed sold by any of the companies that license your Qualified F3 Feed formula for their own manufacturing and sales (under either your company’s brand or their own), read the related FAQ below.

Before September 30, 2016, submit your company’s feed for examination by emailing an ingredient list for each Feed Type to the F3 Judges (f3fishfreefeed@gmail.com) and sending feed samples to University of Arizona, 1140 E. South Campus Drive, Forbes Building, Room 306, Tucson, AZ 85721 USA Attn: Kevin Fitzsimmons. Feed samples must include at least 1 kilogram of each Feed Type that your company would like to have qualified in connection with this Challenge. “Feed Type​” means any distinct formulation to be used to feed one or more species or life stages of marine life. Each sample should be submitted with the attending label printed with the guaranteed analysis and list of ingredients. Alternatively, you may ship a sample of a commercial bag of feed with the label sewn on.

Sales of a qualifying feeds submitted before September 30, 2016 can begin counting towards a company's sales total on May 1, 2016. Sales of additional qualifying feeds submitted after Sept. 30, 2016 can only begin counting towards the company's sales total on the date they were submitted.

Your company’s quarterly sales information should include (i) a list of all your End Customers and distributors, and gross sales and volume of Qualified F3 Feed sold to each of the foregoing and (ii) all your Formula Licensees, and their respective gross sales and volume of Qualified F3 Feed sold to End Customers and distributors. Note that your quarterly sales reports should separately indicate both the total volume of Qualified F3 sold and the amount of Qualified F3 Feed sold to each End Customer and Distributor, as applicable.

Sales reports are to be sent to f3fishfreefeed@gmail.com on or before January 20, 2017, April 15, 2017, July 15, 2017, and September 15, 2017. The first sales report, due January 20, 2017, should report gross sales and volume of Qualified F3 Feed sold between May 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016.

Note that at least one sales report needs to be received and verified by the Judges for your company to be eligible for the prize.

Yes. But in order to include licensee volumes towards your sales goal, licensee sales should not be included in your own company's sales total and their sales should only be for the licensed formulations. You must register your company's F3 Qualified Feed licensees, by sending a list with the following information for each licensee to :

- company name, business relationship, and sales territory 

- name, address, work phone number, mobile phone number, and email address of the company contact person

Collaboration can occur in either feed formulation or in sales/distribution. For the purposes of the F3 Challenge, collaborations are not a formal organizational arrangement. 

The F3 challenge does not limit collaborations. In fact, because some collaborations may fail or may not cover all bases, we encourage contestants to form as many collaborations as possible.

Case 1: If your company is not currently registered to compete in the Challenge, it must partner with one of the existing registered companies. If you have arranged to partner with one of these companies, notify the F3 Team (Judges & Sponsors) by sending the following information to f3fishfreefeed@gmail.com: the name of your company, the name, title, address, work phone number, mobile phone number, and email address of the contact person at your company, and a brief description of the partnership.

Case 2: If your company is registered for the Challenge and has arranged to partner with an external company(s), please send the information outlined in Case 1 to f3fishfreefeed@gmail.com for each partner company.

F3 Collaboration Guidelines and Suggestions

- At minimum, collaborators should agree to work together on the F3 challenge, whether formally or informally, preferably by email or verbally.

- Collaborators may want to discuss how to split revenues and the proceeds of the challenge should they win.  Many types of arrangements are possible, but a simple split divided by the number of collaborators may be the easiest arrangement.  Collaborators may also agree on more complicated arrangements that depend on some measure of effort, in which case certain metrics should be clearly defined.

- For the purposes of the F3 challenge, collaborations are not a formal organizational arrangement.  Collaborators can agree to attempt collaboration in either feed formulation or in sales/distribution.

- The F3 challenge does not limit collaborations.  Any contestants can agree to collaborate; for example, a large multinational distributor can collaborate with multiple contestants.  If collaborations exist across contestants, sales submissions need to be mutually exclusive so that the F3 challenge does not double count quantities. 

- Collaborations themselves need not be binding or mutually exclusive.  Because some collaborations may fail or may not cover all bases, we suggestion contestants form as many collaborations as possible.

* The above does not constitute legal advice. Please consult an attorney when pursuing collaboration agreements.

For sales to qualify and count toward an entrants' progress in this Challenge, the feed sold:

a. Must be formulated for use by End Customers as aquaculture feed;
b. May contain genetically modified plant materials;
c. May contain terrestrial animal by-products; and
d. Must not contain any ingredients (meal or oil) consisting of or derived from marine animals, including but not limited to, fish, squid, shrimp, or krill.

We do not want to limit innovation. Therefore, so long as the company has submitted at least one feed by the sample submission deadline, September 30, 2016, samples of additional feeds are allowed to be submitted to the judging committee for verification after that date and counted towards the company's sales total. Note that sales of such feeds will only begin counting towards the company's sales total on the date they were submitted. The deadline for additional feed submissions is April 15, 2017.

Within the U.S., one of the top places to run digestability trials is at the Bozeman Fish Technology Center in Bozeman, MT.  Dr. Rick Barrows, a leading fish nutrionist and advisor of the F3 Challenge, has recently retired from the Center but still actively volunteers.

Another location is the Department of Animal Science at UC Davis in Davis, CA. They have the facilities but would probably require funding for a graduate student to conduct the trials.

No. The sum total of aquaculture feeds sold for a variety of aquacultured species (for salmon, tilapia, carp, catfish, etc.) will be considered towards the 100,000 mT goal so long as they are free of fishery products and by-products. 

No. The Challenge is open only to companies that brand and sell feed to aquaculture businesses. Channel partners to such companies, including but not limited to, their respective suppliers of ingredients or formulas, contract manufacturers, processors, distributors, marketers, resellers, and retailers are not eligible to enter the Challenge.

Yes, the Challenge is still open to receive crowd-funding to encourage contestants.  You can fund in two ways:  

1. You can hit the 'Donate' button and fund on your credit card.  There is no minimum amount, so amounts as small as $5-$10 are welcome!  

2. If you would like to donate larger amounts, you can send an email to f3fishfreefeed@gmail.com, and we will send you the wiring instructions to an account held in escrow with the Monterey Bay Aquarium for the purpose of the F3 prize.  

Donations are not tax-decuctible because the prize money will be awarded to a for-profit organization. But please donate anyway; get industry to save feed for dolphins, seals, whales, etc.!

Yes! Check out the following:

1. Grant Funding: http://theblueeconomychallenge.com/challenges/challenge-no-1/

2. Capital Financing: http://www.generatecapital.com/

3. Equity Financing: http://www.aqua-spark.nl/

We had many more companies consider joining the contest, but in the end they did not. Some of the biggest companies were not interested as the prize money was not big enough for them or the decision makers at those companies didn’t get notified in time by their personnel to join. Some of the smaller companies perhaps thought that they would not be able to compete with the larger companies. Although we advertised in the leading aquaculture journals, of course there were other companies who never received the news and/or were not able to register in time. So, in the end, we got a good mix of big companies and medium size companies, with a total of 7 teams still competing.  

We are excited to have Evergreen participate. As one of the aquaculture giants of China we are very pleased that their participation will encourage farmers and other industry members to shift to using alternative ingredients and to minimize the use of fish meal and fish oil. Tongwei has also closely followed the contest although eventually decided not to register as one of the contestants. With these two leading companies very involved with finding alternative ingredients to fish meal and fish oil for aquafeeds, we are confident that Chinese companies will be in the vanguard of turning fish-free feed diets into industry standards.

Updates (8)
Press
About Us