F3 Fish-Free Feed Challenge

To encourage innovation of alternative ingredients for aquafeeds, improve the industry's sustainability, and reduce pressure on fisheries.

This challenge is closed


This challenge is closed

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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.



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 (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 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  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. 


Challenge Updates

Guangdong Evergreen Feed Industry Co. Wins F3 (Fish-Free Feed) Prize

Oct. 4, 2017, 9:22 a.m. PDT by The F3 Team

The Future of Fish Feed announced today that Guangdong Evergreen Feed Industry Co. is the winner of the F3 (Fish-Free Feed) Challenge, a contest to develop and sell the most fish-free feed for aquaculture during a sixteen-month sales challenge. The $200,100 grand prize was presented to Evergreen Feed Company during a special ceremony on Oct. 4 at the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s GOAL 2017 conference in Dublin, Ireland.



A video of Guangdong Evergreen Feed Industry Co.'s acceptance speech can be viewed here.


Read the full announcement here!

F3 Challenge Third Sales Results Announced

Aug. 16, 2017, 7:54 p.m. PDT by The F3 Team

Guangdong Evergreen Feed Industry Co., Ltd has maintained its first-place lead with 66,515 metric tons of F3 feed sold. In second place with 31,600 metric tons is the team comprised of Myanmar-based Htoo Thit Co. and global animal nutrition company Biomin.

Read the full announcement here.

F3 Challenge Second Sales Results Announced

May 17, 2017, 4:41 p.m. PDT by The F3 Team

Guangdong Evergreen Feed Industry Co., Ltd has maintained its lead in the Challenge with 53,815 metric tons of F3 feed sold, and the team comprised of Myanmar-based Htoo Thit Co. and global animal nutrition company Biomin is in second place with 29,600 metric tons sold to date.

Read the full announcement here.

Leading Aquafeed Companies Commit to Fish-Free Feed Trials

March 30, 2017, 3:48 p.m. PDT by The F3 Team

Several of the world’s leading aquafeed manufacturers and seafood producers have announced their interest to trial fish-free aquafeeds developed by the winner or a finalist of the F3 Challenge. The companies include Marine Harvest, Alpha Feed, Guangdong Yuehai Feed Group, and Dainichi.

Read the full announcement here.


F3 Challenge First Sales Results Announced

Feb. 23, 2017, 10:07 a.m. PST by The F3 Team

The F3 Fish-Free Feed Challenge announced today the first sales results for the multi-stage contest to innovate and sell fish-free feed for the aquaculture industry.

China-based Guangfong Evergreen Feed Industry Co. is leading the race with over 48,000 metric tons of fish-free feed sold during the first sales reporting phase that ran from May 1 – Dec. 31, 2016. Myanmar-based Htoo Thit Co. and Biomin are in 2nd place with 28,000 metric tons of fish free-feed sold.

The F3 Fish-Free Feed Challenge launched in Nov. 2015 on the HeroX crowdfunding site to encourage innovation of alternative ingredients for aquaculture fishfeeds that are as nutritious and healthy to fish and consumers as conventional fish-based feeds.

The contest is intended to help catalyze the development and sale of viable cost-competitive aquafeeds free of fishmeal and fish oils. Contestants from Thailand, Indonesia, China, South Africa, Australia, Pakistan, Myanmar (Burma), the Netherlands and the U.S. are advancing to the second sales reporting stage of the multi-stage contest to develop fish-free feed for the aquaculture industry. The next sales submission deadline is April 15, 2017.

Belgium-based TomAlgae decided to become a participant rather than a contestant of the F3 Challenge therefore no sales for the company are being reported.

The F3 Fish-free feed prize of $200,000 USD will be awarded to the first team to produce and sell 100,000 metric tons (MT) of aquafeeds that do not contain marine animal meal or oil by Sept. 15, 2017. This prize is intended to spark innovation in the aquafeed industry to find sustainable alternative protein sources that reduce pressure on ocean ecosystems to supply aquaculture fishfeed components and help meet global food security needs in the future.

All sales reported during this first reporting period are unverified. F3 challenge judges will verify that all feed sold are “fish-free” per the contest rules.

The fish-free feed innovation race is on! Who do you think will win? Cast your vote at:

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