special edition: feed protein innovation

EnviroFlight’s BSFL insect protein production takes off with new facility

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

EnviroFlight transitions insect production to new facility © GettyImages/andriano_cz
EnviroFlight transitions insect production to new facility © GettyImages/andriano_cz

Related tags Insect Protein Poultry

In an effort to address increasing feed manufacturer interest, EnviroFlight, a joint venture of Intrexon and Darling Ingredients, opened a new production facility at the end of 2018 in Maysville, Kentucky.

Carrie Kuball, VP of sales and marketing, EnviroFlight, said the new plant is the first commercial-scale insect rearing and processing factory in the US.

The site is modular, it is scalable so eventually, it will be able to generate about 3,200m tons annually, she added.

She told us the Ohio headquartered company is currently in the process of fine tuning the highly automated equipment designed exclusively for its production model.

EnviroFlight's dried black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) meal is produced from oven dried larvae. The meal is pressed larvae, removing a portion of the oil to provide a high protein ground product. The fat content can be customized based on the customer’s needs, said the company.

Facility overview and protein production

EnviroFlight still has its pilot plant running in Ohio. “From a production standpoint, we’re able to make that transition – moving between one facility and the other, supplying existing customers while expanding the customer base.”

© GettyImages/GordZam

Work on the Kentucky factory started more than a year ago, said Kuball. Right now, there is not a set time-frame for it to reach full production.

“It’s relatively centrally located as far as being able to ship out of that facility, and it’s also close to a variety of the feedstocks that we use,” ​she said of how the location was selected. “The new facility will use the same feedstocks that we are using at the pilot plant, which are pre-consumer products … from the brewery and distillery industry, as well as the bakery sector.”

The company focuses on feeding its insects products that could otherwise end up in a landfill, she said.

Developing markets

In addition to work on the new facility, EnviroFlight has been continuing to develop its role as a feed protein and ingredient provider in the US, said Kuball.

“The interest is amazing given the fact that this is a brand new protein source in the US,” ​she said of the developing domestic market.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) works with the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) to ensure all US animal feed ingredients meet nutrition and safety standards before use. EnviroFlight said it is working with the FDA to evaluate ingredients through this process. To date, in the US, BSF ingredients have been permitted for use with salmonids and poultry.

“There is a lot of research taking place [about its use] in other species as well,”​ said Kuball. 

Poultry feed manufacturers are carrying out their own research into the feeding value of BSF derived protein as well:

“A large manufacturing company that produces mainstream poultry feed is not going to put a product on the market with BSF in it until its done its own market research, until its done its own palatability studies and its own digestibility studies as well,” ​she said.  

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