Singaporean insect ingredient producer Nutrition Technologies in Malaysia-focused pet food deal

The non-profit animal shelter organization, SPCA Selangor, will support the development of the pet food product ahead of its commercial launch.

We hosted a Q&A with Nick Piggott, co-CEO of Singapore-based insect ingredient producer Nutrition Technologies, with facilities in Malaysia and Vietnam, to find out more.

Feed Browser:Can you develop the role of each of the partners in the project?

Nick Piggot:Nutrition Technologies will supply the insect meal to Pet World at a heavily discounted price, alongside scientific studies of the benefits of using insect meal in dog food. We will also support the company in terms of application guidelines and suggested formulation, based on industry best practices, performance and value for money. Pet World will then use the insect meal along with other common dog food ingredients and manufacture the kibble at its new Selangor facility, in addition to packaging and distributing it to SPCA shelters. The SPCA will be responsible for distributing the food within its network and feeding it to the dogs as directed to ensure maximum benefit from the functional food. The SPCA will update Pet World and Nutrition Technologies on the performance, attractiveness of the food, and any changes we expect to see in improving animal health.

FEN: When will the pet food product incorporating BSFL be commercially available?

NP:The goal is less than six months. This is essentially determined by the product registration process. All parties would like to offer it sooner, but this is the timeframe we expect from the authorities to register and approve a new product.

FEN: Is this the first time that Nutrition Technologies has targeted the pet food market?

NP:It does and we’re excited to do it at home, so to speak. We are engaged with a number of pet food manufacturers around the world, mainly in Korea and Europe, who are very enthusiastic about using our insect meal, but in terms of the timing of launch, it will be the first. But we expect more to follow later in 2022 and early 2023.

The Malaysian operations of the insect ingredient producer © Nutrition Technologies
FEN: Has Nutrition Technologies conducted any studies on the use of BSFL in dog food?

NP:Yes, we did – we conducted a study in the USA on the palatability of dog food with insect-based ingredients, and we are also well connected with international researchers who do a lot of detailed work on topic – both on the calculation of durability, as well as health and functional performance ratings, such as digestibility, palatability, gut health improvements, etc.

FEN: What are the regulations in Malaysia regarding the use of this ingredient in pet food?

NP:It’s unlimited. Malaysian authorities have taken a very pragmatic approach to regulating raw materials, assessing a product’s safety and suitability for application – in this case, dog food – and unless there is indications that it should not be used, permission is granted. In other countries and regions where BSE was an issue in the 1990s, the approval process for new ingredients is longer, but luckily Malaysia is very handy in terms of safety assessments.

QC Control (002) NT
Quality control at the Nutrition Technologies factory © Nutrition Technologies
SWAMP:What is the potential of the Asian pet food market for insect ingredient suppliers?

PN​: It has good potential and it is increasing year by year. the pet food sector has exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic – growing around 9% globally in 2021, where most other animal food sectors have suffered. Indeed, people were spending more time at home and had higher disposable income due to the lack of travel opportunities. There is also rapid growth in the premium and super premium categories as people invest more in the health and wellbeing of their pets – of which insect meal is a key contributor.

Asian countries like South Korea are definitely leading the way, with a number of their own insect-based brands, but I think a number of others will follow closely, including Malaysia and Japan.