Leon Marchal

Director Nutrition & Innovation, ForFarmers

Leon, born in 1970 near Maastricht in the Netherlands, got his education as Bioprocess engineer in Wageningen, where he graduated cum laude. His PhD was on the enzymatic conversion of starch. A topic both relevant for both food as well as the feed industry, an combination which we can see back during the rest of his career. Since 2009 he is responsible for product innovation and the technical performance of all animal feed within ForFarmers. This stock listed animal feed company (number 8 worldwide) sells around 9.1 million tons of feed. As director Nutrition & Innovation he is leading an international team nutritionist and innovation managers; responsible for both the day to day technical performance as well as delivering the new  innovations to the business. Active in various governing roles in research collaborations with other companies, institutes and universities. For part of his time connected to department of Animal Nutrition of Wageningen University. Has an personal affinity with innovations and sustainability.

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Insect protein promise

Insects look promising but need to show a path to scale. It is argued that more investment is needed to ensure that scale is achieved. Analysts also call out the lower production volumes as one of the main bottlenecks in the insect meal industry.

In addition, regulatory barriers are holding back the sector. The EU Commission officially authorised insect proteins as feed for fish feed in July 2017. However, many insect protein suppliers do not think that the legislation goes far enough, and they are pressing to allow insect meal be used in the pork and poultry industries.

EU insect companies also want to expand the range of agri-food chain sourced substrates they can use to rear insects citing economic and environmental benefits from doing so, but there are data gaps around the risks linked to certain substrates.