Challenge FAQ

What is the purpose of the F3 Challenge?

To ensure we can feed our global population and protect the health of our oceans, we, the F3 Team, challenge the aquaculture industry to innovate feed free of wild-caught marine ingredients. F3 represents the Future of Fish Feed, formerly Fish-Free Feed.

Who is the Challenge organizer?

The Future of Fish Feed (F3) is a collaborative effort between NGOs, researchers, and private partnerships to accelerate the commercialization of innovative, substitute aquaculture feed ingredients to replace wild-caught fish. The F3 Team works together to organize and administer the contest.

What is the fourth F3 Challenge?

This fourth F3 challenge is to find substitutes for krill in aquaculture feed. The F3 Krill Replacement Challenge will be conducted as a feeding trial where each of the competitors’ krill replacements will be incorporated into F3-formulated plant-based diets for Atlantic salmon, and then fed to the fish for 12 weeks while fish growth and feed consumption metrics are measured.

The company or team with the top performing F3 Krill Replacement will win a USD $100,000 prize. Performance against the control diets will be based on a combination of weight gain, observed feed consumption and survival.

How is the term "plant-based" diet being defined?

F3 defines “plant-based” as consisting mostly of plant materials, with a small amount of non-marine animal protein included. The plant-based diet used as the base feed to which all F3 Krill Replacements will be added does contain a small amount (6%) of poultry blood meal as an amino acid source, however the rest of the protein in the base diet is provided by plant sources.

Are fishery or aquaculture byproducts eligible to compete in the Challenge?

We know that any number of high quality products can now be derived from seafood processing waste and byproducts. However, the purpose of this contest is to bring to the market new products that do not depend on the harvest of any marine animals. Additionally, our qualification process is capable of verifying presence/absence of marine animal ingredients but not the source of any marine animal ingredients (i.e., farmed or wild-caught, byproducts). Thus, we are unable to allow any fishery or aquaculture byproducts to compete in the F3 Challenge at this time.

Who can join the Challenge?

The contest is open to ten companies or teams (i.e., a corporation, partnership, limited liability company or other duly organized legal business entity) that are either the owners or licensees of the rights to distribute the distinct formulation of the feed additive, attractant, or other feed enhancing product which may be used as a krill replacement in aquaculture feeds. F3 invites innovators from the feed additive, ingredient, synthetic biology, and all other relevant sectors to enter their products in the challenge.

If more than ten eligible entrants enter the challenge, the judges will choose ten entrants to move forward to the challenge trial based upon the following criteria: Date/Time the registration was received, scalability, whether the F3 krill replacement has been generally recognized as safe (GRAS) or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or a similar international governing body, current production, and acceptability of the F3 krill replacement in the marketplace.

See more details in the Competitor Packet.

Is the Challenge open to non-U.S. companies?

Yes, the Challenge is open to companies worldwide. However, the Challenge is not open to any company residing in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, the Crimea, Donetsk People’s Republic, and Luhansk People’s Republic regions of the Ukraine, or any other jurisdiction where the Challenge would be restricted or prohibited by law. Void where prohibited and restricted by law.

English is the official language for submissions and all other communications for the Challenge. International competitors need to translate any communications into English for their submissions to be considered.

Can multiple companies come together with the lead company to form a consortium?

Yes, we encourage consortia.

What are the key criteria to win?
The company or team with the top performing F3 Krill Replacement will win a USD $100,000 prize. Performance against the control diets will be based on a combination of weight gain, observed feed consumption and survival during the Challenge Trial.

For more information on F3 Krill Replacement guidelines and winner determination, see the Challenge Official Rules and Competitor Packet.

What are the advantages of joining the Challenge, even if we are not in a position to win?

More important than the USD $100,000 grand prize, all participants receive significant publicity through news stories about the challenge in seafood and feed media outlets as well as other popular news outlets. In 2022, 807 news articles mentioned the F3 Challenge and its contestants, which was a potential audience reach of 3.1 billion people.

Will you protect the core business information of participating companies, and does a company have to disclose its recipe (formulation) & IP?

The F3 Team and judges have an incentive to keep the reputation of the F3 Challenge. Entrants must disclose ingredients for each F3 Krill Replacement, but not the recipe (formulation). Usually, ingredients need to be disclosed in most countries on the product tag, so the contest request is not unusual. Business information from the prior three F3 competitions were never disclosed or leaked.

Can you go over the timeline of the contest?
A company must register (fill out the quick online form and send a small sample of your product to F3 for verification that it is krill-free) for the Challenge by August 31, 2023. This deadline may be extended to October 31, 2023 if spots are still open. Depending on the number of qualified entrants that register for the Challenge, the rest of the Challenge timeline will follow one of two options, as described in the Rules and on the Timeline page.

**Update August 24, 2023: The deadline to register for the Challenge remains August 31, 2023 at 11:59 PM PDT, however the deadline to submit samples has been extended to September 30, 2023 at 5:00 PM PDT. Any samples received after this deadline will not be considered for the F3 Challenge.**

How do you confirm Krill Replacement products do not contain marine animal ingredients?

We will use isotopic and qPCR analysis to verify that products are free of any marine animal ingredients.

Are you against using seafood in aquaculture feeds?

No. In fact, we are considering another prize targeted towards recycling farmed fish waste. However, for this prize we want to increase substitutes for krill meal in aquafeeds since a wide variety of marine life depends on tiny shrimp-like crustaceans and stressers like climate change and increased fishing pressure make this fishery’s future unpredictable.

What are some of the concerns with using bycatch and seafood processing byproducts for fish meal and fish oils?

There is a lot of good information on fishing bycatch and the processed waste of seafood being used as ingredients back into aquaculture diets, normally for unrelated species. While we agree that these are efficient uses of these resources, there are also many problems. Bycatch and seafood processing byproducts are often and increasingly used for direct human consumption. In addition, removing forage fish and bycatch from the ocean impacts animals higher in the marine food chain, such as seabirds, marine mammals, and larger fish. Many studies have documented the decline in large predatory species. It is also important to point out that processing waste produces low-quality fish meal and fish oil, as high-quality protein and oils have been removed. The high bone and scale content meal that is left is an inferior ingredient, but nevertheless does contribute 10-15% of the global fish meal supply and extends the supply of fish meal as overfishing continues in some parts of the world.

We have an ingredient company with an ingredient that is promising for aquaculture. What do I need to do to determine the market potential, and break into the aquafeed industry?

Aquafeed companies are keenly interested in substitute ingredients to replace fishmeal and fish oil, because of their high cost. But, ingredient replacement is risky. To prove to aquafeed companies that your ingredient has promise, we recommend you follow the recommended Ingredient Evaluation Process outlined here.

If my company registers, are we guaranteed a spot in the competition? What happens if there are more than 10 companies registered?

All companies must complete the registration form and submit their F3 Krill Replacement product for verification by August 31, 2023 in order to be considered for the competition. We encourage companies to register and submit a sample as soon as possible.

**Update August 24, 2023: The deadline to register for the Challenge remains August 31, 2023 at 11:59 PM PDT, however the deadline to submit samples has been extended to September 30, 2023 at 5:00 PM PDT. Any samples received after this deadline will not be considered for the F3 Challenge.**

If there are more than ten Qualified Entrants, the F3 Judges will select F3 Krill Replacements for the competition in consultation with the Scientific Advisory Committee based on the following and per page 5 of the Challenge Rules:

– Date/time registration was received by sponsors
– Scalability
– Whether the F3 Krill Replacement has been Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or a similar international governing body
– Current production
– Acceptability of the F3 Krill Replacement in the marketplace

Can you elaborate on the scalability requirement for selection if there are more than 10 competitors, and manufacturability?

Scalability includes manufacturability. The feed manufacturer has the ability to accept or reject F3 Krill Replacements should they prove not manufacturable based on practical feasibility of incorporation during feed fabrication. If the F3 Krill Replacement’s corresponding feed is not manufacturable, the reason for failure to incorporate will be provided. More information can be found starting on page 2 of the Competitor Information Packet. Contestants are asked to include handling, storage, and manufacturing instructions when shipping samples to ensure safety and usability in feed manufacturing.

Can you tell me more about the market acceptance criteria for selecting 10 competitors to proceed to the next phase of the challenge?

Market acceptance will be determined by  a number of factors: existing sales, purchase orders, or memorandums of understanding; market potential related to the number of countries for which the products are qualified to sell in; potential for a game-changing performance in quality or cost based on experimental evidence and professional opinion.

Who is responsible for shipping my sample? Does F3 have a preferred freight forwarder?

F3 is not responsible for the sample shipping. Shipping is the responsibility of the competitor and we defer to your team on the best method. Our recommendation is that you collaborate with an importer who can facilitate and ensure compliance with all applicable regulations. Please let us know once the samples are in transit, and we will monitor the tracking information.

Address for 2 kg Samples:
Professor Kevin Fitzsimmons
University of Arizona
1140 E. South Campus Drive
Forbes Building, Room 306
Tucson, AZ 85721 USA

Can you tell me more about the experimental feed being used?

Qualified F3 Krill Replacements will be incorporated into the F3 plant-based feed at a maximum inclusion level of 5%. If <5% inclusion is requested by the Entrant, the F3 Chief Scientific Officer will work with the Entrant and the feed manufacturer to determine how to make up the remaining composition, likely with wheat flour. For the detailed plant-based feed formula, please refer to page 4 of the Competitor Information Packet.

I’d like to enter a product that is heat sensitive and must be incorporated post-extrusion. Is this possible?

It is the responsibility of an ingredient provider to offer ingredients in a form that is manufacturable. Most ingredients in powder form can be incorporated into the dry mix before extrusion up to 5% of the diet. For heat sensitive products, for example some dried algae, we can attempt to add it with oil as a top coat post-extrusion phase up to 3% of the diet. This may or may not be successful and the Entrant will be notified during this process. We recommend offering products in a powder or as a liquid that can be added to the pre-extrusion mix since it will be much easier for commercial feed manufacturers to use this type of product.