Innovafeed aims to advance sustainable insect protein production in North America

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Aerial shot of Innovafeed's new North American Insect Innovation Center (NAIIC) in Decatur, Illinois, US © Innovafeed
Aerial shot of Innovafeed's new North American Insect Innovation Center (NAIIC) in Decatur, Illinois, US © Innovafeed

Related tags InnovaFeed Insect black soldier fly larvae Adm

Innovafeed recently inaugurated an insect innovation center in Illinois, US, marking a milestone in its pursuit of global insect-based ingredient production.

Situated in Decatur, the North American Insect Innovation Center (NAIIC) represents a strategic collaboration between Innovafeed and ADM. Already known for its Hilucia insect ingredients in the North American pet food market, Innovafeed wants to bolster its presence in the region through this new pilot plant.

Strategically positioned amidst the corn belt and adjacent to ADM's North American headquarters, the NAIIC holds immense potential for future expansion, said the French firm.

With a pipeline linking directly to ADM's corn processing wet mill, the facility is poised to harness up to 300,000 tons annually of by-products; these will undergo transformation into insect ingredients, yielding 60,000 metric tons of animal feed protein sourced from Black Soldier Fly (BSF), along with 20,000 metric tons of oils tailored for poultry and swine rations annually.

“ADM’s facility will provide feedstock for BSF larvae as well as waste heat and more. At the same time, this circular process will present a tangible solution to contribute to our mission and the US Department of Energy’s objectives of decarbonizing the industrial sector,” explained Maye Walraven, North America general manager, Innovafeed.

She noted how more than 60M Mt of corn gluten feed and other agricultural by-products are produced in the US annually and that the majority of these by-products undergo an energy intensive drying process before becoming suitable for commercialization.

“Innovafeed’s breakthrough industrial symbiosis model can catalyze cross-cutting decarbonization efforts through significant energy savings from existing food processing facilities to produce sustainable ingredients​, with reputable research demonstrating a likelihood of reducing carbon intensity by up to 87% compared to conventional feed protein sources.”

To amplify Innovafeed's contribution to reducing the environmental footprint of the animal and pet agri-business sector, Maye Walraven, general manager, North America, emphasized the crucial necessity of scale. “That is why we are focusing on our international deployment and growing our market presence globally.” © Innovafeed

Large-scale manufacturing facility in Decatur 

Innovafeed's vision extends beyond the pilot plant, with plans for a large-scale manufacturing facility in Decatur, replicating the successful industrial symbiosis model pioneered in France.

Since 2020, the company has operated an industrial-scale insect production facility in Nesle​, northern France, demonstrating its capacity to generate commercial-scale insect ingredient volumes profitably. This facility has also showcased potential energy savings of around 120 gigawatt hours (GWh) annually, equivalent to the yearly energy consumption of over 10,000 households, according to Walraven.

The forthcoming Decatur facility will emulate this model, transitioning from the use of wheat co-products in France to corn co-products sourced from ADM in the US. “Research and development conducted at the NAIIC will mitigate the risks associated with utilizing a new feedstock source, thus informing the design of the large-scale facility slated for construction at the same location,” she told FeedNavigator.


Insect-based products, like other feed ingredients, must abide to local feed regulations.

“Innovafeed has quality and safety processes in place to ensure that we meet all requirements for the production and commercialization of our insect-based products in North America. These processes have been certified to enable the export of our products from France to North America. Furthermore, our two French facilities are certified GMP+ to ensure the highest level of traceability of our ingredients,” reported Walraven.

To date, Innovafeed has secured over $1bn in commercial contracts for its fly protein products, catering to the aquaculture, pet food, and poultry feed markets.  

Circular economy

Chris Cuddy, SVP and president, carbohydrate solutions, ADM, believes insect ingredients have immense potential to support a circular economy and corporate environmental initiatives.

“By identifying new ways to create value from corn, oilseeds, and other crops, we are positioning ADM as the provider of choice for responsible, sustainable materials across the feed, food, beverage, fuel, consumer product and industrial spaces.”

Pet food focus 

Jorge Martínez, president, pet nutrition, ADM, reports that the company's proprietary consumer insights indicate that consumers are becoming more accepting of insect protein in pet food or in animal feed formulations. 

"Sustainability in food production is a growing consumer demand worldwide, and today’s pet owners expect healthy and responsibly sourced products for the whole family."

Study findings, he continues, shows that insect-based ingredients are nutritionally benefical for dog diets: 

"ADM routinely supports research into novel protein sources that can help lessen the environmental impact of pet ownership while supporting their health and well-being.

To verify BSF as an alternative source of protein for a balanced pet diet, we invested in a omprehensive study at the University of Illinois led by Dr Maria RC de Godoy, a leading researcher in the field of companion animal nutrition. Results of this study demonstrate that Hilucia Protein is a suitable and palatable substitute for chicken meal in dog diets. These findings present important information for the pet food industry and reinforce our commitment to providing high-quality and responsibly produced ingredients to pet brands and manufacturers in North America."

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