EnviroFlight to open new insect protein research center in North Carolina

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/metamorworks
© GettyImages/metamorworks

Related tags BSF Insect protein

US insect protein company, EnviroFlight, has announced the development of a new R&D and corporate center in Apex, North Carolina, close to the prestigious Research Triangle Park, known for its agtech and biotech focus.

The US innovator, a wholly owned division of Darling Ingredients, is producing Black Soldier Fly (BSF) larvae on a commercial scale at its manufacturing plant, located in Maysville, Kentucky, which opened in late 2018, and which saw an additional investment of US$20m for expansion purposes in December last year.

Groundbreaking on the new facility starts April 2021, and EnviroFlight expects to be in the facility in early 2022.

The site will allow for additional focus on target research areas, including expanding the knowledge base for alternative uses of black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) in animal health, animal nutrition, cosmetics, and other product development.

EnviroFlight’s research team and engineer are focused on all aspects of insect biology and production including genetics, immunology, animal nutrition, and innovative engineering solutions. 

“This new facility will allow us to continue to develop technology that leverages the potential of this amazing insect and facilitate our growth in the alternative protein industry,”​ said Liz Koutsos, president of EnviroFlight.

Darling Ingredients acquired full ownership of EnviroFlight back in January last year. Since late 2014, the two partners had collaborated on refining its scalable production processes for BSF larvae.

Insect meal is not yet approved as a pet food ingredient in the US but is approved as a poultry and salmonid feed ingredient. In Canada, the application of insect meal is authorized as a pet food ingredient, but not yet as an aquafeed and poultry feed ingredient. “In both markets, legislation changes are expected throughout 2021,​” noted Rabobank in a recent review ​of the sector.

Making a meal of it

Separately, France based mealworm producer, Ÿnsect, has acquired Dutch agtech company, Protifarm, a developer of mealworm ingredients for human applications with a production site based in Ermelo, one hour east of Amsterdam.

Following the positive opinion of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that mealworms were safe for human consumption, published in January 2021, Ÿnsect is intent on expanding its footprint in the alternative protein sector, chasing the market for insect derived food ingredients.

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