Insect meal market to mushroom once players have raised funds and built capacity

By Lynda Searby

- Last updated on GMT

Tenebrio molitor © Ynsect
Tenebrio molitor © Ynsect
A year has passed since the European regulation authorizing insect proteins in fish feeds came into force. FeedNavigator catches up with Antoine Hubert – a man at the center of industry developments – to find out how the sector has moved on.

July 2017 saw the opening up of the EU aquaculture market for insect derived protein. This marked a major milestone for the insect industry, but has it actually changed the marketplace? 

Antoine Hubert, CEO and co-founder of Ÿnsect and president of the IPIFF (International Platform for Insects for Food and Feed), told this publication that several insect producers are starting to sell insect proteins in fish feed markets. 

Antoine Hubert Copyright Ynsect
Antoine Hubert, CEO and co-founder, Ynsect

“Available quantities on the market remain very limited today but these should increase exponentially in the next few months and years; it takes time for the companies to get sufficient funding and build significant capacities,” ​he said. 

“Overall, fish feed manufacturers and aquaculture producers are showing strong interest in such ingredients, mainly due to their nutritional properties – which include their protein content, amino acid profile / concentration and high digestibility – and their impact on animal growth performance.”​ 

France headquartered Ÿnsect is one of the players building capacity to serve the newly expanded market for insect protein. Hubert confirmed that the company will start work on its Ÿnfarm#1 production unit in France next year “after obtaining all administrative authorizations”​. 

He said the location would be made public before the end of the year. This will be the largest insect production unit in the world, producing more than 20,000 metric tons of molitor protein per year, and will essentially be a blueprint that will be replicated in other global locations. 

North America next?

Hubert said: “We are in discussions with several industrial and financial partners worldwide about the next Ÿnfarms, especially in North America where relevant feedstock could be accessed in very large volumes.” 

To support this expansion strategy, Ÿnsect has set up a strategic committee that includes Vincent Maurice, COO of Danone Dairy, and Ashok Sudan, chairman of Verescence. Hubert said their “considerable experience in the construction and operation of several hundred factories will be of great value to Ÿnsect”​.

“The strategic committee brings expertise and experience on various topics, from finance and industrialization to business strategy and human resources growth. These advisors are in regular contact with our management team to give feedback and exchanges of experience on specific topics and questions our executives may have,” ​he said.

Insects in livestock feed 

Meanwhile, industry consortium IPIFF is busy lobbying for regulatory change to allow insect meal to be used in pig and poultry feed in the EU.

Hubert confirmed that “IPIFF is in regular contact with the European Commission services on this subject” and said that “as far as we know, quite significant progress has been made so far”.

He predicted that depending on the outcome of an ongoing EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) Opinion and internal Commission discussions, the Commission could propose a package of draft texts including an authorization of pig and insect proteins in poultry feed in the next few months.

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