BROOKINGS, SD. — Prairie Aquatech, a supplier of fermented plant-based ingredients to aquaculture, pet food and human health industries, has changed its operating name to Houdek.

Founded in 2011 by South Dakota Innovation Partners and professors from South Dakota State University, Houdek uses fermentation technology to develop high-quality, plant-based proteins. The company originally focused on providing ingredients to the aquaculture market, establishing its ME-PRO® feed ingredient brand in 2019, and later expanded its capabilities to include pet nutrition and human health.

In October 2022, Houdek achieved Safe Quality Food Institute (SQF) certification at its Volga, SD.-based manufacturing facility, enabling the company to launch Protéger, a protein ingredient for use in pet food.

The company’s many years of continuous innovation prompted the new name.

“Because of our team members' innovation and relentless focus on market needs over the past decade, it is important for our name to reflect the impact we are having in aquaculture and beyond," said Mark Luecke, co-founder and chief executive officer of Houdek. “In order to better communicate this impact and our vision to the broader market, we created Houdek as a way to articulate our unique value proposition in each important, but very different, market segment.”

The name Houdek is also the name of South Dakota’s official soil, representing the foundation of the company’s fermentation process. Houdek upcycles agricultural byproducts, including soybean meal and dried distiller’s grain, to create its sustainable protein ingredients.

“Houdek reflects our deep roots, while supporting our vision for the future which is solving global challenges, such as food and environmental security,” Luecke said. “Our fermentation technology has opened doors to new opportunities for a better life, everywhere.”

Alongside its new name, the company also teased upcoming product development, partnerships and production announcements.

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