Maybe you’ve heard us recite these facts again and again, but they should never be forgotten: Up to 50% of the weight of one whole shrimp (that is, head, shell, and tail) is the by-product commonly thrown away as rubbish. Considering the shrimp sector (and aquaculture overall) provides immense food and protein for the world, aquaculture industries worldwide are thriving. (After all, to feed a global population estimated to be 10 billion by 2050, we need to increase today’s protein supplies by at least 52%).

Recognizing the valuable nutrients within the shrimp head, shell and tail, which are sadly being wasted, VNF entered the industry in 2013 to develop a multi-faceted solution:

  • Stop the environmental pollution caused by shrimp by-products in Vietnam
  • Convert the shrimp by-products into valuable ingredients via eco-friendly methods to serve multiple industries.
  • Break the ‘glass ceiling’ of by-products pollution that prevented Vietnam’s entire shrimp sector from growing to its potential


Stemming from shrimp heads and shells, we’ve now got a broad product portfolio range applicable for almost every industry!

How is that possible? Well, picture a shrimp head – dense and moist.

Firstly, VNF starts by separating the protein liquid. (If you were ever sceptical about what ingredients existed in a shrimp head and why some cuisines serve shrimp head, it’s because approximately 45% of the by-products is PROTEIN)

With specialized enzymes, VNF has been able to hydrolyze the Protein into 2 product portfolios – essentially an alternative protein source for humans, pets, aquatic and land animals:

  • Food Ingredients: Shrimp Powder, Shrimp Extract, Shrimp Oil, Shrimp Sauce – natural, authentic, and ‘clean label’ for human consumption. (VNF being one of the first companies in the world mass-converting shrimp by-products into award-winning shrimp food products.)
  • BioNutrients: Shrimp-based Functional Peptides, both in liquid and powder form, to efficiently feed pets, aquaculture, and livestock. (So similar to our Food Ingredients division, providing animals with easily digestible and palatable nutrition so that they can grow stronger and live longer.)

And then there’s the Shells – translucent, pliable, and probably the most overlooked part when you eat shrimp. But did you know the shells contain a valuable ingredient called Chitin and Chitosan? So here are some more interesting facts: Chitin is the 2nd most abundant polymer (after cellulose), and Chitosan (derived from Chitin) is a biofriendly, biodegradable and one of the most versatile polymers with unlimited applications. Through proprietary and eco-friendly production, VNF processes all of the shrimp shells into:

  • BioPolymers: Chitin, Chitosan, Oligochitosan and Chitosan derivatives

Last but not least, that beautiful pigment you see in shrimp. (Yes, we’re serious about taking out every nutrient we can find in shrimp by-products.) Leveraging the unique biotechnological model we built from scratch to extract on a large-scale:

  • Natural Astaxanthin: Astaxanthin isn’t just the red-orange colour you see in shrimp but is actually one of the most potent carotenoids and antioxidants known to scientists. With functions including pigmentation enhancing, reproductive support, gut health support, and immune-boosting, Astaxanthin is undoubtedly one of the most beneficial nutrients available on this planet.
Figure 1. VNF's product portfolio

Taking a step back, you can see how these four product lines fit perfectly like puzzle pieces in our unique ‘zero-waste’ model and mindset. We set high goals (some might say “aggressive”) in each and every step of the value chain, aiming to achieve the best possible outcomes. Our ultimate goal is to build a sustainable business model that brings value to our partners, people and the planet

Figure 2. VNF “zero-waste” mindset


In 2022 and beyond, we’ll continue striving to be better, improve our technology to be greener and more efficient, develop new products, solutions, and applications with our partners, and never stop exploring what more value we can create. 

We will continue extracting protein from shrimp heads to serve the global protein demand as the world population swells to 10 billion by 2050.

We will never stop driving Chitosan’s value forward, as we know it can play a crucial role in limitless industries, including bioplastics to reduce petroleum-based plastic pollution, in animal farming to reduce antibiotics as an antimicrobial agent, and in all the bodies of water around us where Chitosan can naturally flocculate to keep waters clean without toxic chemical residues.

We will ceaselessly drive the expansion of our food ingredients production forward to feed the people and do our part in minimizing world hunger.

And we are committed to delivering to the world shrimp-based natural astaxanthin because, as one of the most potent antioxidants on this planet, Astaxanthin can help us stay healthier to keep us with our loved ones for as long as possible.

Figure 3: VNF's product applications in different industries

Because at the heart of everything we do (no matter what new industry you see us popping up in), we are dedicated to sustaining the future of this Earth for the people. And who knows, with our successful biotechnology model, we could even use it to extract value and achieve ‘zero-waste’ for other by-product industries.

Remember: we didn’t win in 2019 Paris just for the shrimp industry. VNF was recognized as “the future of innovation”. So shrimp-eater or not, we’re here to make the world a better place for all — first step: one shrimp head and shell at a time.