Friday, July 6, 2018

the interview | Jérôme Le Friec, Head of Diana Aqua

Jérôme Le Friec has over 24 years of international experience in animal nutrition and feed additives industry. His first career step was at Timab, Roullier group where he held for 17 years different positions as Market Manager, Business Unit Manager and Managing Director. He then joined Olmix as Managing Director for six years before taking the position of Deputy General Manager at Mixscience (Avril group) in 2016.
In January 2018, Jérôme Le Friec was appointed at the head of Diana Aqua, a global strategic growth segment for DIANA, nutrition division of the Symrise Group.

Aqua feed is an ever-changing industry, where do you see feed going over the next five to 10 years?
Aquaculture should become more and more technical as in terrestrial animal feed. Performance will be driven by breaking the last barriers of fish and shrimp nutrition, leading to significant innovation in feed formulations. Improvement of animal genetics will also be a step-change for aquaculture growth.

What makes Diana Aqua stand out from other companies in aquaculture?
There are indeed different reasons why Diana Aqua stands out from other companies in aquaculture.
First, Diana Aqua belongs to Diana, a world leader in natural-ingredient based solutions in the human and non-human agro-food sectors. Diana is the nutrition division of one of the world’s most successful manufacturers of fragrances and flavors, Symrise AG. The entire company is really driven by a scientific curiosity, and willingness to innovate, it always favorises close collaboration with its clients, whatever the sector in order to get ideas off the ground.
That being said, Diana Aqua relies on a unique global network of scientific and technological experts, a dedicated team of 140 passionate employees and 5 industrial sites all over the world.
Diana Aqua is committed to promoting a sustainable aquaculture with a strong consideration for quality and safety criterias guaranteed by certifications such as GMP, ISO 9001, ISO 22000, ISO 14001, IFFO RS and IFFO RS COC, SEDEX and OHSAS 18001.
Our product development and business model are based on fundamental principles, notably with sustainable and high quality raw materials. These come 100 percent from co-products and traceable sources secured through long term partnerships.

How and why did you get into aquaculture and what makes it a desirable career choice?
During my previous experiences I was already involved in the aquaculture world but on a smaller scale than at Diana Aqua.
How can you not be passionate and involved in contributing to the task of feeding nine billion people in an innovative, safe and environmentally friendly way?
These challenges are truly exciting and fit with my values to be part of the blue revolution.

Can you explain the difference between your products “Actipal” and “Nutripal”?
Our Nutripal range consists of nutritional specialties developed for their very specific raw materials origin and freshness. Our main products are tuna liver powder, tuna soluble extract and dry fish soluble. They are characterised by a very high nutritional value and palatability.
Our Actipal range consists of functional protein hydrolysates manufactured from marine co-products (fish frames, tuna viscera and shrimp head). This range of products was specifically developed to improve attractability/palatability, digestibility and health benefits of aquaculture feed. The application of a controlled hydrolysis process on raw materials will allow the production of a high level of soluble protein and peptides. The high and standardised content of these compounds in functional hydrolysates will support flexibility in feed formulation while ensuring consistent feed performances batch by batch.
The unique peptide profile of functional hydrolysates will support a better resistance of fish and shrimp helping them go through the stressful period successfully.

How does your enzymatic hydrolysis technology work? What makes is special?
Diana Aqua has 30 years experience in the hydrolysis process. This process is particularly efficient to bring new functionalities to raw materials.
Unlike the meal manufacturing process which is a simple cooking/drying process leading to an end product with nutritional benefits, the hydrolysis process will target the production of specific bioactive peptides that will provide better functionalities to the end product. Palatability and digestibility will be significantly enhanced and the production of bioactive peptides during the hydrolysis process will support fish and shrimps’ health.

Where do you see Diana Aqua progressing over the next few years?
One of our main goals is to have all our industrial sites IFFO certified within the next 12 months and importantly, to keep on developing specific tailor-made sustainable solutions for all species at any grower stage to meet and anticipate as far as possible our customers’ demand and expectations.

What do you think needs to be done to ensure that aquaculture continues to be the fastest growing industry and therefore sub-sequentially sustainable?
The most important point will be to satisfy the final consumer by supplying safe, traceable, tasty and healthy finished products. Of course, the environmental impact of aquaculture will have to be improved with a better management of veterinary treatments in some aquaculture areas as well as nitrogen/phosphorus waste from farms. This will involve improving farming practices in most of the countries.
Moreover, aquaculture growth would certainly have to though the development of a new farming system (off-shore, recirculating system). Feed will be the cornerstone of a sustainable development of aquaculture. Aquaculture will look like what it will be fed. (je ne suis pas sure de comprendre, option: aquaculture will be what we make of it).
Sustainability should drive the development of aquaculture through the main pillars of the Global Goals of Sustainable development. This is something Diana Aqua is very much focusing on. That is why we put in place our own dedicated team two years ago to allow us to be deeply involved on this key challenge.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the feed industry currently and what can be done to combat it?
To follow its growth trend and perspective, aquaculture, and therefore fish and shrimp, will have to be fed and we must prepare for the future now. Volumes and quality/standardisation of raw materials will attract most of the attention of feed and raw materials companies as well as nutritional scientists in the next decade.
The first step will be to take the most of the sustainable source of marine protein and oil available today, especially co-products. But a possible stronger competition with food and pet-food industries is a scenario to consider. Then, the main challenge will be to develop new nutritionally balanced sources of protein and oil while not impacting non-renewable ones.

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