French insect farming startup InnovaFeed and U.S. agricultural giant ADM want to produce insect proteins together. InnovaFeed wants to build the world's largest insect farm. It is the first cooperation in this segment involving a major food company.
The Paris-based startup will supply its black soldier fly proteins to ADM's pet food division to produce "high-quality nutritional products" with a "significantly lower carbon footprint and land requirements" than traditional animal proteins, the two companies said in a statement.
The agreement builds on an existing collaboration under which InnovaFeed announced it will build the "world's largest insect farm" next to ADM's corn processing facility in Decatur, Illinois, in 2020. The plant will produce 60,000 tons of protein and 20,000 tons of oils for animal feed and livestock feed, as well as 400,000 tons of fertilizer, Reuters reports.
Insect species such as the black soldier fly, mealworms and crickets can produce edible protein much more efficiently than conventional livestock such as cattle, pigs and sheep. Insect farms require much less land than, say, cattle farms or a pig farm. They also tend to be hardy in a wider range of environments: they can be farmed in a variety of conditions - such as indoor environments that don't need to have special characteristics.
They can be fed organic waste, which allows for recirculating systems. They also require much less water. Depending on the species, the insects can be used to obtain various oils, chemicals and other industrial materials, in addition to proteins. Furthermore, they can be processed into powders, for example, which offers food or feed manufacturers additional flexibility in production. In addition, their excreta can be used as fertilizer.
In the UK, Better Origin is partnering with supermarket chain Morrisons to place its "mini-farms" of black soldier flies on their egg farms as a sustainable source of chicken feed. The flies are fed with waste from Morrisons stores.
Protix wants to expand internationally
EU: The EU gave the green light for insects in pig and poultry feed. It also recently decided to add crickets, yellow mealworms and grasshoppers to the list of "novel foods" suitable for human consumption.
USA: Last year, the USA approved the use of black soldier flies in dog food.