Arkansas-based Tyson Foods, a major global food company, announced on Tuesday, October 17, that it has partnered with Dutch-based Protix, a leading insect ingredients company, in a significant investment agreement. The funding amount has not been disclosed.
The collaboration aims to boost the emerging insect ingredient industry, creating sustainable proteins and lipids for the global food system. It also opens a new revenue stream for Tyson while accelerating Protix’s global expansion.
The agreement combines Tyson Foods’ global scale, experience and network with Protix’s technology and market leadership to meet current demand and scale production of insect ingredients.
Protix says, “This agreement is a major milestone for Protix and significantly accelerates our ambition to grow our global gross revenue to around €1B by 2035 through international partnerships.”
Invest-NL: Transforming the unfinanceable
Speaking about the latest funding from Tyson Foods, Invest-NL says, “We previously published a story about Protix, and this new development marks an important step forward in sustainable food production.”
“This is very good news for Protix, which will allow them to achieve further scale-up. It also clearly shows the role of Invest-NL, where we support innovative companies such as Protix in the first phase of their growth and thus make these types of investments possible,” adds Victor Meijer, Senior Investment Manager at Invest-NL.
“Inspired by nature, insects are our solution”
Protix claims it is a pioneering company in the insect-based ingredient industry, providing sustainable solutions for pet food, aquaculture, livestock feed, and organic fertiliser.
Its mission involves creating low-footprint ingredients to address significant challenges in the current food system.
By utilising food industry waste as feed for black soldier flies, Protix produces valuable nutrients like proteins and lipids from the insects. These nutrients are then used in high-quality feed and food products, while residual insect streams are repurposed as organic fertilisers.
Protix operates the first-in-the-world industrial insect facility, opened in 2019, overseeing the entire production chain from breeding to processing. They are now expanding globally and actively seeking partnerships to unlock the full potential of insect-based ingredients for the world.
Tyson Foods says it will make an equity investment in Protix to support its global expansion. The two companies have also formed a joint venture to build the first large-scale insect ingredient facility in the continental US.
This facility will upcycle food manufacturing byproducts into high-quality insect proteins and lipids, primarily for use in pet food, aquaculture, and livestock industries.
John R. Tyson, chief financial officer of Tyson Foods, says, “Our partnership with Protix represents the latest strategic investment by Tyson Foods in groundbreaking solutions that drive added value to Tyson Foods’ business.”
“The insect lifecycle provides the opportunity for full circularity within our value chain, strengthening our commitment to building a more sustainable food system for the future,” adds Tyson.
The to-be-built facility in the US
The upcoming facility in the US will feature a comprehensive enclosed system for insect protein production, including breeding, incubating, and hatching larvae. Besides supplying ingredients for aquaculture and pet food, processed larvae might also be used in livestock and plant feed.
Protix currently produces 14,000 metric tons of insect larvae annually at its Netherlands facility. The company looks to meet the rising demand for insect-based ingredients.
Kees Aarts, CEO of Protix, says, “We are very excited to announce the next step in our international growth strategy. Tyson Foods’ and Protix’s strategic partnership advances our joint work towards creating high-quality, more sustainable protein using innovative technology and solutions.”
“Moreover, we can immediately use their existing byproducts as feedstock for our insects. This agreement is a major milestone for Protix and significantly accelerates our ambition to grow through international partnerships,” adds Aarts.
Brief about Tyson Foods, Inc
Established in 1935 by John W. Tyson, Tyson Foods is a global leader in protein production. With a diverse range of products and renowned brands such as Tyson, Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Ball Park, Wright, Aidells, ibp and State Fair, the company has been led by four generations of family leadership.
Headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, Tyson Foods employs around 142,000 team members. The company is dedicated to innovation, making protein sustainable and affordable to meet global customer needs while serving as a steward of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it.