Cargill, InnovaFeed tie-up deemed boost for insect protein sector

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© InnovaFeed/Cargill
© InnovaFeed/Cargill

Related tags: Insect, Protein, Auchan, Aquaculture, Téréos

Cargill and French insect protein producer, InnovaFeed, have entered into an alliance to jointly market fish feed that includes insect protein, a move the partners said will enable them to support the growth of sustainable aquaculture.

Adriano Marcon, president of Cargill’s aqua nutrition business, said the partnership would enable the agribusiness giant’s salmon and shrimp customers to differentiate their product lines. 

InnovaFeed has a circular economy approach as the company uses co-products from the production of starch and sugar to feed its black soldier fly (BSF) larvae, adding to the sustainability of its production, said Cargill. 

The terms of the alliance are not being disclosed. When asked why it chose to align with InnovaFeed as opposed to other insect feed producers, a spokesperson for Cargill told us the French company's expertise was a huge draw. "It has more than 60 engineers and technicians that have developed an innovative process, allowing it to produce high-quality insect meal at an industrial scale. This capability is incredibly important to Cargill, and we see them as a strategic partner."

Hermetia illucens Larvae Credit InnovaFeed
In November last year, we reported on how InnovaFeed had raised another €40m in funding from international investors, which brought to over €55m the total amount of funds it had generated in 2018. Photo: BSF larvae © InnovaFeed

Commenting on what this collaborative effort with Cargill means for InnovaFeed, its head of business development, Maye Walraven, told FeedNavigator:

“This partnership is of strategic importance for InnovaFeed, and for the deployment of the insect industry in general. InnovaFeed and Cargill share a common vision and we’re very excited about the new solutions that we can jointly bring to the aquaculture industry.”

The French company said it has led multiple trials over the past three years showing its insect protein can be an effective alternative to fishmeal used in salmon or shrimp feed.

When asked what species and which markets the alliance will focus on, she said the short-term focus is on salmon and shrimp but other aquaculture species will also be considered as part of the partnership. “We’re even exploring opportunities beyond aquaculture, in particular for the nutrition of young animals like broiler [chicks] and piglets.”

Industrial scale production site

In September last year, the French insect producer announced that its next insect protein production unit would be located in Nesle, near Amien, in the North of France, in collaboration with French co-operative, Téréos. It will use co-products from the Téréos starch facility there as a basic feed for breeding insects. 

“Our new production site, which will increase our production capacity to 10,000 tons of protein per year, will become operational by the end of 2019.  In the mid-term, InnovaFeed will deploy its production model at a large scale, including international expansion by the end of 2022,” ​said Walraven. 

Insect-fed trout line

A recent tie-up with French supermarket chain, Auchan, saw that retailer's listed trout farmers use meal comprising InnovaFeed's insect protein in their production.

"The plan is to expand the geographical span of the partnership with Auchan to national scale by the end of the year, and to launch insect-fed salmon too in the near future,”​ added Walraven.

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