With an aim to participate in the rise of sustainable food systems by addressing the increasing demand for natural, healthy, and competitive raw materials, French biotech company InnovaFeed has partnered up with the US-based food processing and commodities trading corporation Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), to build the world’s largest insect protein plant in Decatur, Illinois.
With this development, InnovaFeed has also announced that it has raised €140M in a fresh round of funding to accelerate its international expansion plans. This brings the company’s total funding to €200M, to date.
According to InnovaFeed, by 2030, the global protein deficit will widen up to 40 metrics tons as a result of our growing world population, and protein production will be one of the key food challenges for decades to come – the reason InnovaFeed wants to help build & support global sustainable food systems.
Founded in 2016 by Aude Guo, Bastien Oggeri, Clement Ray, and Guillaume Gras, InnovaFeed is a biotech company that develops large-scale insect-breeding & processing processes. It sells ingredients derived from insects for animal nutrition and aquaculture in particular.
It valorises the insect entirely in a zero-waste logic, thereby producing organic fertiliser from insects frass. Combining the largest production capacity on the market and research in biotechnology, InnovaFeed claims to have developed the technology and process enabling the production of high-quality insect meals at an industrial scale, and at a competitive price.
The company develops a new source of insect protein, derived from the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) to support animal agriculture. This ingredient is a rich source of well-balanced essential amino acids, making it a crucial alternative to fishmeal that meets the nutritional needs of fish and improves their health.
Besides the protein, the company’s insects are an excellent source of high-quality oil. This highly digestible source of energy for poultry and swine is an alternative to other vegetable oils, such as soy and palm, which are largely imported.
InnovaFeed now plans to launch a new protein product specifically designed for shrimp, that combines a certified 50% lower carbon footprint with improving feed efficiency by up to 27%, growth rate by up to 24%, and reducing mortality due to disease.
Opening of a new industrial site
The Nesle site’s construction will begin in 2021 and targets a capacity of 60,000 tons of insect protein per year. This development is made possible with InnovaFeed’s disruptive technology, which combines robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), claims the company.
The site with a capacity of 15,000 tons of insect protein will feed the equivalent of 400,000 tons of fish, poultry, and pigs per year.
Currently, more than 3,000 sensors associated with the optical counting systems developed in-house by InnovaFeed make it possible to optimise and monitor at all times the rearing conditions of the 20,000 eggs collected every second.
According to the company, this new site is designed to allow 100% circular production saving 57,000T of CO2 every year. This model is environmentally efficient, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 80% compared to other existing models – according to the Life Cycle Analysis study carried out by independent experts, Quantis.
Additionally, by setting up in Nesle, InnovaFeed will help generate 110 jobs.
Fresh capital to accelerate expansion strategy
With the opening of the Nesle site, InnovaFeed also concluded fresh funding of €140M, half of which is equity, from existing investors Creadev and Temasek.
The raised capital will help the company for its future development projects in France, and also internationally, with the construction of new sites planned in South-East Asia, and in the US.
Growth potential and developments
Since 2017, InnovaFeed had also forged a strategic partnership with Auchan – a French retailer – when they collaborated together to launch the world’s first “insect-fed” trout value chain. In
June, they launched a second value chain, “insect-fed” poultry.
InnovaFeed has also launched a new natural and sustainable pet-food product, that includes insect ingredients, keeping in mind pets’ nutritional needs as well as the environment. The company has partnered with Barentz – a Dutch-based provider of ingredients for the food & nutrition – to develop this product.
Image credit: InnovaFeed