Protix secures strategic investment from Tyson Foods, set to build US facility

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/MicroStockHub
© GettyImages/MicroStockHub

Related tags Protix BSF Insect protein Aquaculture pet food Livestock

Tyson Foods has reached an agreement for a two-fold investment with Dutch insect ingredients producer, Protix.

The alliance combines "the US meat processing group’s global scale, experience and network with Protix’s technology and market leadership" to meet current market demand and scale production of insect ingredients.

Through a direct equity investment, Tyson Foods will acquire a minority stake in Protix to help fund its global expansion. In addition, the two companies have established a joint venture for the operation and construction of an insect ingredient facility in the US. When operational, that plant will be the largest at-scale facility of its kind to upcycle food manufacturing byproducts into Black Soldier Fly (BSF) derived proteins and lipids. The ingredients will primarily be used in the pet food, aquaculture, and livestock industries.

When asked to disclose how much the US company has invested, a spokesperson for Protix told us funding from existing backers along with Tyson Foods amounted to €55m (US$58m).

“This agreement is a major milestone for Protix and significantly accelerates our ambition to grow through international partnerships."

The Dutch company said the deal will also help it grow its global gross revenue to around €1bn by 2035.

Capacity forecast 

The facility in the US, when completed, will house an enclosed system to support all aspects of insect protein production. The location of the plant is still not yet fully decided. But it is expected to be ready for ramping up operations towards the end of 2025, said the spokesperson.

The facility's capacity will be three to four times the output at its existing plant in Bergen op Zoom, in the Netherlands. It is expected to produce "up to 70,000 tons of live larvae equivalent (LLE) annually, with capacity to convert 250,000 metric tons of waste into high-quality nutritional products."

The BSF pioneer, which has been looking to expand​ internationally, can use Tyson Foods’ existing byproducts as feedstock.

Based in the Netherlands, Protix operates what was the world's first industrial insect facility; the plant opened in 2019. The site has breeding, rearing, and processing operations under the one roof. Protix maintains that such a production model allows it complete control and offers a reliable, high-quality supply of ingredients.

ADM, Cargill getting behind Innovafeed  

Protix is not the only European based BSF player to have secured support from a US agribusiness giant.

ADM has a partnership with French insect protein company, Innovafeed, that sees the two entities collaborating on the construction and operation of an insect production site​ in Decatur, Illinois. The facility will be located alongside ADM’s Decatur corn processing complex, with the US company supplying feedstocks, waste heat and more. ADM is also partnering with Innovafeed to commercialize insect protein for pet food customers​ in North America, following recent US regulation allowing the use of BSF products in food for dogs.

Moreover, in June 2022, Cargill announced it was expanding from three years to 10​ its global partnership with Innovafeed. The partners are jointly developing and marketing insect meal to help boost the sustainability profile of aqua feed companies.

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