Why You Need To Automate Your Fish Feed Packaging system


Fish Feed Industry Overview

The fish feed industry is an essential part of humanity's food supply chain and has been for centuries. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to produce the volumes of salmon, tilapia, shrimp and shellfish required to meet the planet’s demands. The global aquafeed market supports economies around the globe by helping them produce export grade fish. As wild marine fishing resources become more finite and controlled fish farming becomes more common, demand for fish feed will increase.

In 2020, the global aquafeed market exceeded USD 50 billion, and it's projected to reach over USD 71 billion by 2025. Consumer demand will drive increased seafood consumption as protein rich diets become more popular and the overall fish feed market will grow on average by CAGR 5% per year.

The increasing viability of commercial fish farming, lower costs and ease of access to aquaculture feed is will also increasing the demand for fish feed. If you are a high volume manufacturer of salmon food and prawn feed the technology is now available to help you to cut labour costs, speed up production, improve traceability, and benefit from robust packaging that’s suitable for distribution to remote coastal fish farms.

Here’s how automating your fish feed bagging systems can help you meet these challenges head on.


Today’s Fish Feed Market In Statistics

Manufactured fish feed is the fourth largest animal feed group in terms of global annual production and is projected to have the highest future growth. Most fish feed comes in dry extruded  pellets or granular form, with wet feed remaining popular in some markets.

This feed can be floating, which means that it will sit on the water’s surface until eaten to prevent product wastage. Both feeds are made from fishmeal and oil or plant meal and oil , but can include fish processing waste, seaweed, soybean, barley, rice and other grains. It may also contain additives such as vitamins, anti-parasitics and preservatives.

While manufacturing processes differ from business to business, most manufacturers use extrusion to form high quality pellets of various sizes for different ages, breeds and sizes of fish. The chosen ingredients are crushed using a feed hammer mill. A grain power mixer combines the materials with grains and additives in certain proportions to form a mash. The mash is then passed through an extruder which ‘injects’ the mash through a dye with a certain diameter to form pellets. The pellets are then dried or baked  before being packaged.

Herbivorous fish consume more plant proteins while carnivorous fish consume more animal proteins. Most fishmeal and oils come from small open ocean fish and scraps that come after processing fish for human consumption. These types of fish rapidly reproduce to replace their stock levels, making them a renewable resource. However, their prices are expected to fluctuate as fish oil demand for human consumption increases and crop prices change due to seasonal output and availability.


Why Is The Cost Of Fish Feed Increasing?

Demand for fish feed is increasing and experts say it's unlikely to drop to Pre-2000 levels anytime soon — even though it makes up over 70% of a fish farmer’s production cost. Fish food prices are expected to increase from between a few hundred dollars to over 1000 USD a tonne as ingredients, global commodities (including rice, wheat and fish oil) and energy prices continue to rise in a climate with supply chain issues due to Covid-19. Hence, the pressure is on fish feed and mael producers to become more efficient, one area of a feed feed factory where its relatively easy to reduce the cost of production - is in the bag packaging department.

Currently, China is the world's leading fish feed producer and as of 2015 accounted for 49 percent or 35,5 million tonnes of the world's total production. Vietnam is estimated to follow with a production volume of 2,9 million tonnes in 2012. This is followed by Thailand with 1,6 million tonnes, Indonesia with 1,3 million tonnes, India with 1,2 million tonnes and the USA at 1 million tonnes, followed by South American countries, Australia, Norway and Scotland.


As marine resources become more finite and fish farming becomes more commonplace, it’s anticipated that 60% of global seafood production will be farmed by 2030. This also should give producers more control over the health and wellbeing of their fish. Demand for fish products are set to increase as the world's population grows and becomes more urbanised and incomes rise in developing nations. As fish tends to be lower in fat and has a smaller carbon footprint than other protein sources, it’s also expected to become more popular as it’s healthier and more sustainable. This will continue to drive demand to levels that current supplies can’t meet. This demand will be concentrated specifically in Pacific Asia, Latin America, North America and Europe.

In 2020, Covid-19 temporarily slowed down fish feed imports as borders closed and food service businesses shut down. This temporarily decreased demand for fish products and by extension fish and fish food. As lockdowns start to lift globally, demand is expected to rise again. However, manufacturers are expected to face many unique challenges such as staff shortages and more stringent sanitary guidelines when producing and packaging the product.


What’s The Best Way To Package Fresh Feed Pellets?

The majority of extruded fish feed is predominantly sold in pellet or granular form, filled into woven polypropylene bags of 25 to 50 kg - and Bulk or Jumbo Bags of 850 - 1100 Kg.

This woven polypropylene fabric or outer material is strong and robust, meaning it can travel long distances without ripping or tearing — ensuring it protects its contents.

However ,although the empty bags have many secondary uses, the polypropylene cannot be recycled - hence the desire to move to more environmentally friendly packaging materials - in particular recyclable PE plastic film.

In the case of Big Bag filling it is desirable to minimise the size and cost of the bag by implementing various techniques to settle the contents of the Bulk Bag as it’s being filled.


The Big bag filling machine is equipped with a load cell weighing system to ensure that each bag weighs the same amount., and so that the weight  evey bag filled can be logged. When  moving to recyclable PE film it is now cost effective to fully automate your packing process. 25 - 50 kg bags  can be packed on a low cost fully automatic, hygienic Form Fill Seal (FFS) Bagging machine, connected by belt conveyors to a compact bag palletising robot, which sacks the full bags of salmon feed in ann interlocked  pattern onto wooden or plastic pallets. The palletised loads can then be automatically stretch wrapped, which will stabilise and protect the product during transport and distribution to the fish farm.


Fish Feed Is Packed Into Different Sizes Of Bags, Depending Upon The Type Of Customer Or End Consumer:

  1. Retail clients and fisheries — Small plastic bags weighing 1 kg - 5kg. 
  2. Small industrial fish farms — 25 - 50 kg PE plastic bags (previously woven polypropylene fabric bags).
  3. Large industrial fish farms — Bulk Bags ranging from 500 - 1500kgs - manufactured from woven polypropylene fabric. 

For larger feed manufacturers, who need to fill  25-650 kg bags, FFS bagging technology  is becoming a popular choice for bagging Salmon Feed - because  the empty bags made on a form seal seal bagger are  much less expensive than 'pre-made' polypropylene fabric bags so the factory saves on packaging material costs as well as the cost of labour - because it requires fewer workers to operate the machinery in the bagging line. The FFS machine automatically forms bags out of a continuous roll of flat or tubular polyethylene film at a rate of 500 to 1200 bags an hour. 

Talk to Webster Griffin about installing a high speed, automated Bulk or Big Bag packing machine for fish feed, or how ask us how you can cut packaging material costs and reduce the number of operators you employ on your 25kg sack packing line for salmon or prawn food. 


Staying Up To Date With Tomorrow’s Fish Feed Packaging Options 

If your business is looking for a fish feed bagging machinery packaging option that can keep up with future market developments, it needs to consider an automated solution that can fill products around the clock with less labour required and no pauses in operation necessary. Webster Griffin has decades of experience in helping businesses package their fish feed on a large scale and can advise you on what your best options are.


Our Experience Supplying Big Bag Filling Machines

EWOS (Cargill) Scotland - Big Bag Filling System for Pelletised Salmon Food


Ewos Innovation is part of Cargill, the world’s largest commercial fish farming feed food manufacturer with a global presence. They contacted Webster Griffin for a Big Bag system that fills FIBC’s with salmon feed at hourly rates of 25- 30 x 1000kg bags/h or 30-35 x 500kg bags/h. The Big Bag Filling system was designed to be compact and fit into the limited space available within an existing factory.

The system is able to fill three sizes of single loop bags. The operator applies the empty bag and bag sizing technology automatically self adjusts the machine to fill the bag size in question . The empty bag is always inflated to prevent the inner bag from rupturing during filling.

The two stage bag filling process with ‘coarse’ and ‘dribble’ feed combined with a self optimising digital weighing controller provides very good  weighing accuracy and prevents product ‘give away‘ The filled and settled bags are then  discharged and accumulated on conveyors before being removed by forklift.

The new big bag line has reduced the number of operators involved in bagging and therefore  boosted productivity, it has minimised the amount of valuable fish feed ‘given away’ in every bag, and also allowed bagging machine operators the chance to take on other vital production tasks within the factory.


Our Experience Supplying Big Bag Filling Machines

Biomar, Scotland - High Speed Big Bag Filling System For Extruded Salmon Feed

BioMar is a Danish sustainable feed manufacturer that operates in over 80 countries to create high performance feed for over 45 species of fish and shrimp. They boast a production volume of 1.25 million tonnes and it's estimated that one in five fish farmed in Europe are fed BioMar feed.

BioMar needed a new system that could boost productivity and fill 6 different bag types and could withstand abrasive and oily products. It would also need to package 25-30 bags an hour at weights of 500, 1000, 1050 and 1250kg.


After several consultations with the customer, Webster Griffin We installed a Big Bag filling system for them, complete with a product dosing system and electronic load cell weighing system to ensure consistent weighing and filling of free flowing fish feed products into bags. A bag inflation device keeps each bag fully open to receive product from the feed valve and has a height adjustable filling spout and bag loop support arms included.

An inflatable spout, external clamping ring and angled chute ensured accurate and dust free product filling. A heavy duty belt conveyor would transport move the filled bags for discharge and offloading. The system allowed BioMar to accurately fill a range of bag sizes at high speeds with less product and packaging wastage than ever before.

The system allowed BioMar to more easily trace their products after distribution using ‘passport’ tickets and they were also able to cater to more customers by offering a bigger range of bag shapes and sizes. The increased accuracy of the filling meant that customers could be confident they were getting what they paid for and ensured that BioMar wouldn’t lose was losing any capital from


Our Experience Supplying FFS Bagging Machines

Cargill, Ecuador - Fully automatic Bagging System For Prilled Shrimp Feed 


Ewos contacted Webster Griffin seeking a fully automated bagging system that could run continuously and pack 10 to 25 kgs around the clock  with minimal operator intervention. It would need to bag salmon pellets 24/7 and produce compact bags suitable for robot palletisation.

Webster Griffin designed a system integrating an Form Fill Seal FFS bagging machine that could use gusseted and non-gusseted tubular film rolls to decrease downtime between film changeovers. The  system also incorporates a single high accuracy net weigh scale with a servo motor driven ‘cam shell’ weigh  dosing technology - which can pre weigh up to 1800 x 25 kg charges of fish feed per hour. This weigh scale is self checking and monitoring, each 25 kg weighment is dropped via a special stainless steel ‘accelerator’ chute onto the newly formed bag waiting below.

As with all Form Fill Seal bagging installations from Webster Griffin, the machine produces bags  in a continuous uninterrupted flow - it only being necessary to stop the line once per shift to reload a new roll of pe bag film


As a result of the new system, Ewos dramatically improved the productivity of their bagging operation and eliminated the need for operators to carry our arduous manual labour around the clock  - releasing them to work on more productive tasks in the factory. Because the system is controllable and automated it delivers maximum operating efficiency. Since then, Ewos has ordered additional bagging lines from Webster Griffin.

Why Choose Webster Griffin?

Not many packaging machinery experts have the technology combined with years of experience in working with large scale fish feed bagging projects. Webster Griffin understands the problems, and the challenges of packing a wide range of oily, dusty fish feed pellets.

They use only the best quality components, sourced from the original, European, Japanese and American manufactures thereby ensuring spare parts are available from local distributors. Data logging, packing line performance monitoring and CCTV remote support are all features pioneered by Webster Griffin - to ensure your bagging operation keeps running - and you keep delivering fish feed to your customers.

Their technology is up to date yet, robust - built to operate reliably in inhospitable remote locations. If you’re looking for a partner who will design and build a Turn Key solution that will grow with your business, contact Webster Griffin today.

Fish Feed Market Round Up

The fish feed market is estimated to be valued at USD 112 million by 2032. Recording a CARG of 8% in terms of value.

The rising global fish feed consumption and increase in processed seafood consumption are due to rising middle class affluence in developing countries.

The limited availability of marine feed resources as there is a growing demand for fish feed, results in a growing demand for fish farming and in turn fish feed products.

Seafood consumption in China accounts for more than 45% of the global volume. China consumes around 65 million tons of seafood out of 144 million tons and is also the biggest exporter internationally.


India, China, Japan, US, Brazil are all the biggest consumers of fish feed.

The Asia Pacific region has the leading market share in the global fish feed market, widely considered that by 2022 this region will account for over 50% consumed fish feed products.

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