Cargill extends insect protein partnership with Innovafeed

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

InnovaFeed's products © InnovaFeed
InnovaFeed's products © InnovaFeed

Related tags Cargill InnovaFeed black soldier fly larvae Adm salmonids

Innovafeed and Cargill have extended their partnership from three to 10 years to jointly develop and market insect meal.

The agreement combines Innovafeed’s expertise in formulating precision insect ingredients and Cargill’s global animal nutrition capabilities to scale up the use of insect ingredients in multiple types of animal feed.

Under this new contract, the US agribusiness giant said it will benefit from high-performance and sustainable ingredients for salmonids.

Helene Ziv-Douki, president of Cargill’s aqua nutrition business, said: “We have a shared purpose with Innovafeed: offering innovative, sustainable solutions to meet the nutritional needs of our customers and a growing population.”

“A contract of this size and scope for insect ingredients in aqua feed is a first in our industry and marks a major milestone in favor of more sustainable and efficient animal feed, thanks to novel ingredients and insects more specifically,"​ commented Clément Ray, Innovafeed’s co-founder and CEO, in relation to the expanded partnership.

Cargill has a long-held goal of lowering CO2 emissions in the aquaculture industry - that ambition is core to its SeaFurther Sustainability Initiative. 

And it claims insect-based feed has become a competitive alternative to other sources of protein in terms of a range of parameters from nutrition to production and sustainability. "Growing insects requires no land, fertilizer and pesticides, and the process uses minimal fresh water and energy for production; ​co-products of the agriculture industry are used to feed black soldier fly larvae."

Pet food tie-up

In February this year, France headquartered Innovafeed revealed it had established a strategic partnership with ADM Petfood to pioneer large scale commercialization of insect protein in pet food in the US.

"This agreement with ADM is a unique opportunity for Innovafeed to increase its footprint in the pet food market, building on the preferential relationships we have developed with EU players,"​ said a representative then.

That tie-up follows on from the announcement in November 2020 that both companies would collaborate on building the world’s largest insect protein farm in Illinois. After raising €200m from investors such as Temasek and Creadev​, the French company said it would begin R&D operations at the facility in Decatur later this year, leveraging ADM’s expertise in pet food as well as partnerships with leading academic institutions. 

"Construction of the site begins later this year, with the Innovation Centre beginning operations in Q4 2022. Breeding activities will begin in 2023, with operations set to expand to industrial scale in 2024,​" a spokesperson for the insect ingredient producer told us in February.

Innovafeed and ADM outlined then how the global market for insect protein across all verticals—including plant nutrition, animal feed, pet food and human food – is expected to surpass €100bn ($113bn) over the next few years, reflecting growing demand​ for sustainable ingredients as well as a supportive regulatory environment.

Currently, the majority of Innovafeed's insect protein output is directed at the aquaculture market, a segment that will remain strategic and a priority for the innovator over the next three to five years.

The company also sees the US as a promising market to launch ingredient solutions for human consumption. 

Innovafeed is also a founding member of the North American Coalition for Insect Agriculture and a participant in the Center for Environmental Sustainability through Insect Farming, a public/private research program bringing together leading industrial players and academic experts at premier US ag-tech universities.

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