Local business makes huge splash in aquatics sector

Business / Mon 21st Feb 2022 am28 08:13am

MAGDALEN LAVER-based wholesaler, Peregrine Livefoods has recently dived into the world of aquatics following the acquisition of specialist fish food brand, FishScience.

Peregrine Livefoods, the UK’s largest reptile wholesaler and FishScience, an innovative business that utilises sustainable alternatives to fishmeal, completed the acquisition process on the 18th of February. 

Having stocked the products for several years, the wholesaler welcomed the opportunity to acquire the business when Dr Pool announced his retirement.

Chris Jones, Managing Director of Peregrine Livefoods said: “When David approached us, we jumped at the opportunity for two key reasons. Firstly, we have ambitions to expand our portfolio and market reach beyond reptiles and into the aquatic sector. Secondly, both FishScience and Peregrine Livefoods’ foundations are built on the use of insects as part of our foods. This synergy allows for a myriad of opportunities in the future.”

Peregrine Livefoods is an Employee-Owned Trust, meaning all 192 employees at the Harlow based company have a stake in the future success of the business. As one the of the largest local employers, the company is keen to drive growth into the local economy in a sustainable way.

“Although many reptiles don’t have sensible alternatives of food other than live insects, the aquatic market does have a range of possibilities. Many foods in the market use fishmeal, often derived through ocean trawled fish, which is incredibly damaging to the environment. We’re excited at the possibility to utilise insects as an alternative protein source and reduce our impact on both the oceans and the planet. The nature of this business means we do not need to transport that protein source around the world, since we breed all our own insects on our farm here in Essex.”

Dr David Pool created FishScience in October 2013 when he saw a necessity to create a more sustainable fish food brand. The choice to use black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens) instead of fish meal was one that ultimately created an eco-friendlier product whilst also being more palatable for the fish. Fuelled by his degree in Zoology and post-graduate studies of Freshwater Fisheries Biology and armed with over 25 years of industry knowledge from working at Tetra, he formulated his first product. 

Now, with over 70 products across the range, David is looking forward to retirement and enjoying his passion for fish through his hobbies and working on a consultancy basis with Peregrine Livefoods.

Dr David Pool, Founder of FishScience said: The use of insect meal in the formulation of FishScience foods, along with its focus on natural and sustainable ingredients, has been central to the brand’s success.  When Peregrine Livefoods expressed an interest in purchasing FishScience, it felt like a natural fit. Their business focuses on insects, and they recognise the many opportunities that this ingredient offers. Added to this; Peregrine Livefoods are a young and dynamic company that have the resources and expertise to take the FishScience brand to the next level.”

“I had always planned to retire at the age of 60 and that landmark has just passed. I’m not someone who can sit around doing very little and I am looking forward to spending more time on my hobbies of fishing, walking, running and travelling. I have also undertaken some voluntary fisheries management work with a local angling club and look forward to spending more time doing this.”

With the new acquisition paving the way for Peregrine Livefoods to enter the aquatics sector, the future of the exotic pet industry looks bright. With many herpetoculturists (those who keep reptiles and amphibians) now also keeping fish in semi-aquatic enclosures called ‘paludariums’ the increased knowledge in-house should benefit a wide reach of businesses across the country.

Chris Jones added: “At Peregrine we have a large team of experts who have a collective wealth of experience when it comes to insects and reptiles, but we’re very limited in specialist aquatic knowledge. David’s experience will be invaluable to assist Peregrine in pushing the brand and developing new products that allow FishScience to become a market-leading fish food brand.”

Dr David Pool concluded: “Everything has gone very smoothly. Peregrine Livefoods has been an easy and open company to work with. They are a young, innovative and dynamic company who I am sure will succeed in and bring a lot of benefits to the aquatics market.”

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