Seagriculture EU

18 - 20 June 2024

Tórshavn, Faroe Islands

How to get seaweed in animal feed?

Rene Schepens, Director, FermentationExperts, The Netherlands

About the speaker: 

Rene Schepens (1963) was born and raised on a pig farm in the south of the Netherlands. Educated as an agricultural engineer, specialized in pig breeding. Happily married, with three grown up children.

Worked for 32 years in Bonda. Started of as a sales representative and grew into the role of director and co-owner of the Bonda group. Bonda developed during these years from the Netherlands to 6 other European countries (Be, F, D, Uk, Ro, Bg) and became part of cooperative Agrifirm in 2011. Traded 2.3 million tons of coproduct feed per year, completely specialized in buying, handling and selling of coproducts from the food, drinks and renewable energy sector. 

Rene has extensive knowledge on nutritional characteristics of coproducts from many different industries. He is familiar with the logistical challenges these products can create where supply is following demand for consumer food products, and demand has to follow supply always. Also, the microbiological instability, in combination with often very unbalanced composition is something to keep in mind. Every product should follow the economically optimal track to get to the market where it has the highest added value. 

Rene was involved in developing compound feed factories in several countries to blend dry, moist and liquid products into suitable added value compounds for pigs, cattle and poultry in liquid or stackable moist form. Also, several sites have been developed to unpack rejects from bread, cookies, sweets and dairy.

Company info:

Is involved in Fermentationexperts and European Protein as director and co-owner since 2012. His main tasks are the technical development of production and factories to produce fermented and dried animal feed (Dk, USA, Ukraine), as well as commercial roll out of the products and concepts to new markets. 

Fermfood is a daughter company that is developing fermented food ingredients to be sold B2B to food operators that include these ingredients in their food end-products. 

Fermbiotics is another spin off of Fermentationexperts that is developing health foods. Strong indications suggest that patients suffering gut health issues (Crohns disease, colitis, IBD, psoriasis), or Metabolic Syndrome (obesitas, Diabetes II, high blood pressure, high cholesterol) benefit from eating small daily amounts of fermented canola/seaweed. 


What are the chances and challenges to get seaweed and derived products into the animal feed market at a material scale. What needs to be done and demonstrated by the several partners in the value chain. What are experiences in practice.