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Brussels, the 18th of February
The International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed – IPIFF – the Brussels-based umbrella organisation representing stakeholders active across the insect production value chains publishes today a ‘Position Paper’ entitled ‘The Contribution of the European Insect Sector to Improving Sustainability from Farm to Fork‘.
As part of the ongoing discussions on the development of the ‘Farm to Fork’ Strategy, IPIFF wishes to underline a couple of elements of significance for the insect production sector, in particular with regards to the implementation of the objectives of the ‘Farm to Fork’ Strategy. This document aims at supporting the ongoing and upcoming deliberations on this topic, highlighting the contribution of the insect farming sector to improving sustainability from ‘Farm to Fork’.
The two-page document concisely illustrates IPIFF’s view on topics included in the Green Deal Communication document of the European Commission (publication that presents the ‘Farm to Fork’ as the key component of the European Green Deal on agri-food matters), as introduced by the Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen on the 11th of December 2019. Considering that the official launch of the ‘Farm to Fork’ Strategy is expected on the 31st of March, we view this Position Paper as a constructive starting point with regards to the dialogue between the European institutions in charge of the ‘Green Deal’/’Farm to Fork’ and the European insect sector.
The International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed – the European association representing the stakeholders involved in the production of insects – is publishing today its ‘Contribution Paper on the application of insect frass as fertilising product in agriculture‘, a document which presents the position of the umbrella association as part of its strategy to expand the circularity potential of insect production.
Download here the IPIFF contribution on insect frass application as fertilising product.
The International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF) is publishing today a Contribution Paper on the Research Priorities of the European insect producing sector, entitled ‘The International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed – building bridges between the insect production chain, research and policymakers’. This document is the result of a multistakeholder dialogue within the umbrella association, a process that has been initiated at IPIFF’s latest General Assembly meeting – held in May in Copenhagen. In addition, this document is also part of our associations’s contribution to the public consultation on the Co-design of the Horizon Europe (2021-2024), offering contextual elements for our research priorities, each divided into three key sections: the relevance of the topic, the state of research and the research needs of the European insect sector.
Download here IPIFF’s Contribution Paper on Research Priorities.
I received an invitation from SEARCA i.e. the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture to deliver a module on edible insects at a summer school in the Philippine. SEARCA was founded in 1966 and is one of the oldest among 24 specialist institutions of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization. Since then, SEARCA has been working to strengthen institutional capacities in agricultural and rural development in Southeast Asia.
The module on edible insects was part of Food Security Center (FSC) 2019 Summer School entitled “Transformative Changes in Agriculture and Food Systems”. More information on the in total three summer school modules organized by the Food Security Center of the University of Hohenheim, Germany, can be found here.
I didn’t feel bored despite the very long flight from Germany to the Philippines as I was reading an interesting book on board. I love history & culture books and the book “An Illustrated History of the Philippines” by Jose Raymund Canoy with its color images, maps and a detailed timeline is quite a compelling read — perhaps enough to get even those disinterested in history hooked. I highly recommend this book to anyone planning a trip to the Philippines. For a detailed book review please refer to the link here . On the first day of my module I attended a talk on “ICTs in Agriculture and Agribusiness: Past Development, Current Status, Perspectives, and Development Needs” which was given by Prof. Reiner Doluschitz, Director of the Food Security Center (FSC) in Hohenheim, Germany. The talk was part of the “Agriculture and Development Series Seminar” organized by the Knowledge Management Department of SEARCA.
After the seminar, I invited the students to watch a documentary on entomology in South East Asia and following the screening, they had the opportunity to enjoy some insect snacks that I carried along with me from Germany, thanks to my friend Folke Dammann and his start-up Snack-Insects.
During the one-week long “Edible Insects” module, I explored with the students insects as alternative sources of subsistence and protein. I shared with them research results indicating their nutritional benefits. I talked to them about the reasons why we should ditch beef burgers and eat insects instead. For instance, the favor we would be doing to our already depleted lands and natural resources and the reduced levels of green house gases that we would produce. We also had a view on entomophagy’s history and culture vs. the Western perception towards insects consumption. I also introduced them to insect for food and feed production systems. As a closing activity, the students divided in teams and developed their own business pitch to promote edible insects.
Read the full article here.
World Food Day is a day of action dedicated to tackling global hunger. Held annually on 16th October celebrating the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The focus of the day is that food is a basic and fundamental human right. Yet, in a world of billions, over 820 million people worldwide suffer from chronic undernourishment, 60% women and almost 5 million children under the age of 5 die of malnutrition-related causes every day. People from around the world come together to declare their commitment to eradicate worldwide hunger from our lifetime. Events are organized in over 150 countries across the world, making it one of the most celebrated days of the UN calendar. These events promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure food security and nutritious diets for all.
I celebrated the 16th of October this year by participating in the World Food Day Colloquium 2019 organized by the Food Security Center (FSC) at the University of Hohenheim, Germany. FSC is one of the five DAAD EXCEED – Excellence Centers for Exchange and Development at German universities funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). FSC focus is to establish international networks in the field of food security for the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Read the full article here
IPIFF has published the Guidance: the provision of food information to consumers. This Guidance document provides recommendations towards best labelling practices, building from obligations derived from Regulation (EU) 1169/2011. ‘We also wish to raise awareness regarding the excellent nutritional properties of edible insects – a label in line with EU best labelling practices is the first step in order to transparently inform consumers’, complemented Marijn Lanting, Chair of the IPIFF Working Group on ‘Food Safety & Consumers’. Concurrently, IPIFF is also launching a one-page factsheet that summarises the relevant nutritional and health benefits of edible insects and their potential contribution to a well-balanced diet (hereinafter – ‘insect nutrition factsheet’). ‘Edible insects are popular in numerous countries across the globe and they are known to be a viable complementary source of proteins, minerals and vitamins. During the past years, more and more Europeans wish to integrate edible insects in their diet to combat nutrient deficiencies or as functional food’, concluded Bastien Rabastens, IPIFF Executive Committee Member.
Cricket crisps and buffalo worm burgers could be as fashionable as sushi within a decade due to falling prices and a waning “yuck factor”, which analysts believe could push the bug protein market to a value of £6bn by 2030.
A report has shone a spotlight on a market enjoying bumper growth, with sales increasing by about 25% a year as high-protein, low-calorie bug-based snacks and staples shake off their association with I’m a Celebrity-style bushtucker trials.
“We see scope for insects to reduce the environmental burden of our food system,” said Emily Morrison, one of the authors of the report by Barclays. “Although there are numerous hurdles to overcome – notably regulation, price and cultural acceptance – we see insects as a viable middle ground for consumers wanting to make their diets more sustainable.”
Manufacturers, supermarkets and restaurants are all scrambling to cash in on a changing food landscape as a growing number of consumers embrace flexitarian diets – in which a largely vegetable-based diet is supplemented occasionally with meat – and experiment with meat alternatives and plant-based eating.
The damaging environmental impact of global meat production has spurred interest in bugs as an alternative, sustainable food source. Unlike cows or pigs, insects can be bred in significant numbers without taking up large amounts of land, water or feed.
The report estimates the global insect market – for consumption by humans and farm animals – will grow at 24.4% a year over the next decade, putting sales on track to hit $8bn (£6.3bn) by 2030. Over that time it expects the commercial production of edible insects to increase by about 28% a year, from less than 50,000 tonnes today to more than 730,000 tonnes in 2030.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, at least 2 billion people, particularly in Asian countries such as Thailand and Vietnam, already regularly consume insects, which are seen as a way of helping to feed the world’s growing population.
The Barclays report cites sushi as an example of a food that was once considered a novelty in the west but has gained mainstream acceptance after trickling down from high-end restaurants to supermarket shelves. Members of Generation Z, with their heightened focus on health and sustainability matters, are the “most likely to overcome the ‘yuck factor’ associated with consuming insects”, it adds.
The big supermarkets are already testing consumers’ appetite with bug-based snacks and staples such as pasta, flour and cereal. The European supermarket group Carrefour entered the fray last year with a range that included buffalo worm pasta and granola in its Spanish stores, while Sainsbury’s and Ocado sell bags of roasted crickets made by the London food company Eat Grub.
Eat Grub’s co-founder Shami Radia said the five-year-old business, which also sells insect-based energy bars and protein powders, had just secured its biggest order to date, with the German discounter Lidl, which will stock its roasted crickets in 3,200 of its domestic stores.
“We thought our protein bars would be the most popular but our crickets have been a surprise as Sainsbury’s has helped make them more mainstream,” said Radia, who believes attitudes to eating insects have started to change. “Press coverage used to describe insects within the context of bushtucker trials but now they are talked about as the food of the future. A lot of our customers are meat eaters who want to cut down on their meat consumption but don’t want to be vegetarian or vegan.”
He said that while crickets had a growing following, turning shoppers on to the charms of buffalo worms – a “fantastic addition” to a smoothie or a flapjack, according to the Eat Grub website – and mealworms (great for roasting and sprinkling on soups) was more difficult because of the word “worm”.
But it is not just squeamishness that is putting some consumers off, with analysts pointing to prices that are out of kilter with comparable snacks. This has started to change as the market grows in scale and yields improve. Ÿnsect, a French mealworm producer, is planning to build the world’s largest insect farm in Amiens, northern France.
Morrison said: “The prices for different products do vary, but generally prices remain relatively high. The ability to automate the insect-farming process will enable supply to increase and prices to become more competitive with meat and plant-based alternatives.”
Read the pdf article released by “The Guardian” here.
Bergen op Zoom, 11 June 2019 – Today, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander officially opened the world’s largest insect farm at Protix in Bergen op Zoom, the Netherlands. Protix produces insects for sustainable proteins by using plant waste from the environment as feed for insects. The proteins and other nutrients of insects are very nutritious and can be fed to animals, especially fish and chickens. In this way, non-sustainable sources, such as fishmeal
and soy, can be replaced by a sustainable alternative.
During his visit to Protix, King Willem-Alexander met various experts, entrepreneurs and CEOs from the agri-food industry. The programme was moderated by Peter Bakker, President and CEO of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).
Emphasis was laid on the transition of the food system to a future in which people can continue to enjoy good food with an ever-lower impact on the environment. King Willem- Alexander was accompanied by Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. The minister shared her view on the market and explained why insects are part of her vision for the future of our food system.
King Willem-Alexander was also given a tour of the new facility and was able to take a look at all aspects of the cultivation process: from egg to end product. The cultivation process takes place in a controlled environment and is highly automated with sensor and data systems, robots and climate control.
Kees Aarts, founder and CEO of Protix: “We are very honoured to have welcomed King Willem-Alexander and minister Schouten in honour of the opening of the largest insect farm in the world and our ten-year anniversary. This is of course an important milestone for Protix. The opening of our new facility signifies a real transformation, not only for our company, but for the entire sector and markets; the transition from prototype to a mature and commercial sector.”
He continued: “We are proud to have been able to bring our innovation to maturity in the Netherlands. This opening is the springboard to move our products and technology across borders and build our leadership in this industry around the world. A ‘Global Technology with Local Impact’ aligns our vision to achieve a global food system in balance with nature.
It was also a great celebration for all our customers, partners and employees. A memory for life.”
Read the document here.
IPIFF – ‘International Platform of Insects for Food & Feed’ , which is the EU umbrella organisation for the insect production sector unveils today a guidance document on the best practices in quality and hygienic insect production – the paper is available on the IPIFF website through the following link. Initiated in November 2016, the draft Guide contains general recommendations for operators active in the production of insects for food and/or feed to implement best hygiene practices with a view to achieving high levels of consumer protection and animal health.
Developed in the framework of the EU food and feed safety legislation, IPIFF has transmitted the document today to the European Commission services, in view of its assessment by the EU Members States representatives. ‘Pending discussion and endorsement by the European Commission and national authorities, the document may constitute a useful tool for all insect producing companies or those who intend to engage in insect production to implement EU food and feed Regulations’ explains Antoine Hubert, the IPIFF President.
Focusing on food and feed hygiene, the Guide aims to reflect standards being followed by European insect producers, covering both food and feed production activities, from breeding to final processing; ‘we trust this document could serve as valuable source of information to EU and national public authorities, especially at a time when EU policy makers are reflecting on the possible authorisation of insect proteins in poultry feed and several novel food applications covering insects as food are in the pipeline’, adds the IPIFF Chair.
Besides food and feed safety hygiene guidance, IPIFF has also published today some general recommendations for ensuring high standards of animal welfare in insect production’ (document available through the following link). In the past, the insect organisation also developed some guidelines to support insect producers in the implementation of the EU novel food legislation (the document is available through the following link). Through an accompanying Questions & Answers document (see link), IPIFF explains that insect producers should also conform with a series of obligations in areas such as environment protection or infrastructure management, those being subjects regulated at a national level.
‘We trust that all these works will be useful for insect producers to conform with applicable legislations. These efforts also contribute towards building a responsible industry and maximising our contribution towards more competitive and sustainable food and feed value chains’, emphasises the IPIFF Vice President, Adriana Casillas.
Insects proteins constitute a complementary source of proteins and can play a decisive role to reduce nutrient deﬁciencies in animal feed formula or to complement consumers’ diets: ‘in order to fully exploit this potential, the insect production sector also relies on solid rules and guidance for those operators to implement them,’ explains the IPIFF Vice Chair.
Drafted under the initiative of the IPIFF association, the Guide remains of voluntary nature. ‘However, we trust that it can in the future be used in the framework of official controls so as to show compliance with food and feed safety obligations. It may also serve as a point of reference for insect production activities taking place outside Europe or for the development certification schemes covering insect production’ explains Lars-Henrik Lau Heckmann, the IPIFF Board Member in charge of ‘research and hygiene practices’.
IPIFF will present and explain the Guide on the occasion of a Workshop targeted at all companies active or planning to engage in insect production. This event will take place on 27th May in Copenhagen. The Secretariat will provide further information about this event in due time.
LONDON (Reuters) – After centuries of selective breeding of animals and plants to maximize yields in agriculture, bugs are getting the same treatment, as demand for insect protein grows.
British start-up Beta Bugs is breeding high performance strains of black soldier fly for the insect feed sector, and is selecting traits like growth rate, protein content, fat composition and even temperature tolerance according to clients’ needs.
Most animal feed is made from soy which is blamed by some for deforestation as farmers try to meet increasing global demand for the crop. This has led to the search for more sustainable sources of protein.
“There are insect farms around Europe, around the UK, even elsewhere in the world which are using food waste and waste streams to rear insects such as the black soldier fly which they can then feed to fish, chickens and pigs.”
“We’re looking at it from the genetic side. How do we make the best fly and the best bug possible for use in these farms?” founder and managing director of Beta Bugs, Thomas Farrugia told Reuters.
The company breeds certain strains of fly, resulting in highly optimized insects. The feed is made from fly maggots.
“You can cram decades worth of genetic progress that has been made in every other animal into a few years for insects,” said Farrugia.
Beta Bugs says it wants to stimulate the growth of a new and environmentally beneficial industry by bringing real benefits directly to farms.
Reporting by Stuart McDill; Editing by Alexandra Hudson
The Belgian company Millibeter has been acquired by Circular Organics™ – a division of the Insect Technology Group™. The group also owns the insect company AgriProtein. Millibeter is now part of this group and will be rebranded as Circular Organics™.
Circular Organics™ will recycle agricultural by-products and organic waste into protein, oil and soil products for feed, food, and other applications.
The nine Millibeter team members have already joined the Circular Organics™ operational team in Europe as the company expands its existing site and gears up to deliver a number of factories in Europe over the coming two years.
The Research & Development team has also increased by eight people, under-lining the groups commitment to R&D in Europe. The team will work closely with other research teams across the Insect Technology Group™ to improve production efficiencies and add value to insect-derived products for its customers.
The company will maintain its involvement in a number of exciting projects including InDirect (Horizon2020), Kempen Insect Cluster (European Regional Development Fund) and the PPILO
Insect based ingredients as valuable additions to livestock and fish diets is a hot topic. But who is doing what and where? All About Feed has updated its list of companies from around the world, active in producing insects or insect meal/oil for livestock and fish.
Insect protein companies are popping up everywhere around the world, although a lot of knowledge and companies are seen in the Netherlands and France. These 2 countries have been pioneering in insect research and production already from the very beginning of the insect-meal revolution. Most of the companies use the larvae of the Black Soldier Fly larvae (Hermetia illucens). This species is also known for its high conversion rate from feed / substrate to protein. Also the housefly and mealworms are used quite often. Take a look at allaboutfeed. The 35 companies are listed in alphabetical order.
source: AgriProtein news
Following our recent $105m fundraise, the insect protein sector continues to grow. AgriProtein is expanding its insect technology solutions and applying these to a variety of organic substrates in different market places. We are excited to announce that AgriProtein was chosen as one of TIME Magazine’s 2018 Genius Companies. This list recognises fifty businesses that the magazine believes are ‘inventing the future’. It’s an honour for us to have been recognised alongside so many household names. In January our holding company will be rebranded as Insect Technology Group (ITG) to minimise brand confusion. The Group will centrally manage research, services, and sales and marketing across our four market facing brands. AgriProtein will continue to operate under its current name and maintain its focus on converting post-consumer food substrates into products for the aquaculture industry. Circular Organics is the new operational brand for our traceable pre-consumer waste businesses, which will lead our expansion into the EU. Our recently acquired Belgian operation, Millibeter will operate under this structure. MultiCycle Technologies will be the new parent brand for our higher risk substrate businesses that recycle abattoir waste, animal manure, and The BioCycle, our Durban based faecal sludge business. ITG Biopolymers is our advanced biochemistry brand for the group business based between our new Asian regional hub in Singapore and our research centre in Belgium. The company was established to centrally process high-value insect derived products, including chitin and fatty acids, from various ITG operational subsidiaries.
Moira Capital Partners —the investment firm — promotes this way one of the largest European manufacturers of animal protein from insects
A larva biomass production plant will be installed in the Levante area, with the capacity to efficiently and environmentally-sustainable process 9,000 tons per year of vegetable by-products
Alicante. 04 September 2018
Moira Capital Partners, an investment firm led by Javier Loizaga, joins renowned University of Alicante Spanish entomologist and researcher Santos Rojo by investing 16 million euros in BioFlyTech. This firm specialises in the controlled artificial breeding of insects for conversion into high-quality proteins and fats, and its goal is to turn it into one of the largest European companies of industrial production of insects. It is the most powerful investment carried out in this emerging sector in Spain.
BioFlyTech is a TBF (Technology-Based Firm) registered by the University of Alicante and located at the Alicante Science Park. The firm has acquired a unique knowledge of selective breeding of insects for more than 20 years of research. Founded in 2012 by PhD lecturer Santos Rojo and his research team, the firm thus receives the necessary support to become the largest Spanish producer of insect proteins, which, in accordance with current regulations, will be aimed at becoming an essential ingredient (animal protein) of feed for farmed fish, replacing or complementing fish meal, not easy to replace so far.
BioFlyTech has specialised in selective breeding of different types of dipterous insects and in particular with the black soldier fly. It is one of the insects with the greatest potential for industrial production due to its huge capacity for reproduction, its rapid growth, its ability to process an incredible range of by-products and the large percentage of high-quality protein produced. This species does not bite or is involved in the transmission of any type of disease to humans, animals or plants.
Moira Capital will contribute with 6 million euros to BioFlyTech in a first stage to build and start up the largest plant in Spain for industrial production of insects that is expected to produce almost one thousand tons of insect protein per year. Also, the plant will require a processing capacity of about 9,000 tons of vegetable waste.
After the first phase, the firm will carry out a second capital increase of 10 million euros, with which, in 2019, Moira will reach 80% of BioFlyTech capital with the aim of investing in the construction of new industrial plants and facilities for larva breeding. This will allow them to produce more than 20,000 and 5,000 tons of high-quality animal protein and fat, respectively over a period of 6 years. Their main target will be aquaculture, thus, using a new ingredient whose traceability, homogeneity and high protein content are extremely valued. Farmed fish market currently accounts for more than 50% of the fish consumed worldwide and has a limiting factor in the fishmeal due to their growing shortage, volatility, decreasing quality and cost. In this way, BioFlyTech is expected to reach sales of approximately 40 million euros in 2024.
In this regard, Moira Capital Partners Chairman Javier Loizaga stated that it is a unique investment opportunity in the emerging sector of protein meals and fats from insects, intended as a benchmark in future animal feed.
According to FAO data, the planet is expected to host at least 9,500 million inhabitants in 2015. This population density, never reached before, will face new challenges in our food system based on agriculture, aquaculture and terrestrial livestock in 2050. This has led to the massive production of insects as a new state-of-the-art livestock, with the ability to provide the essential ingredients for traditional animal nutrition, and thus face the huge needs of animal protein that will be needed on the planet, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In fact, this international organisation has been promoting the introduction of insects in animal feed for a long time to improve food security in the face of foreseeable population growth, since they provide a sustainable solution with high economic, social and environmental impact.
According to University of Alicante lecturer Santos Rojos, the transformation of waste and by-products from the agri-food industry into a new source of proteins and other added value benefits is one of the advantages of the technology proposed by BioFlyTech. The aim is to make a highly efficient contribution to the optimisation of resources and to the reduction or elimination of the problems associated with traditional livestock production such as the use of space, water consumption, production of greenhouse gases, etc.
The firm is now in advanced negotiations with a number of national and international producers of different types of by-products and agricultural residues that provide the necessary development means for larvae feeding. This will strength circular economy and contribute to making the most of them.
Agrifirm announces a collaboration with Protix that will result in the launch of various new initiatives using insect based ingredients from Protix. The initiatives range from the development of concepts for broiler, layer and pigs as well as targeted applications for a circular soil improver.
Dick Hordijk, Agrifirm’s CEO: “We are proud to join forces with another Dutch pioneer in circularity and sustainability. This collaboration is in line with Agrifirm’s mission to create a responsible food chain for future generations. The future of food forces all stakeholders in the global food system to reconsider their old assumptions on how food is made, where it comes from and whether it is actually healthy and sustainable. A responsible food chain for future generations can only be achieved if all stakeholders are truly willing to change their habits. A responsibility that also leads to business opportunities. We believe that there is a clear opportunity to develop more concepts like “OERei”, an innovative egg concept which Protix launched successfully some months ago.” Protix is the first and largest producer of certified, high-quality and sustainable insect ingredients. Its products ProteinX, LipidX and Bloosom are produced at a world-class production facility and are based on the black soldier fly. With their focus on pioneering and drive to create a low-carbon footprint society they aim to challenge and rigorously improve the food system. Tarique Arsiwalla, founder and Chief Commercial Officer Protix: “With Agrifirm we have found a valuable partner, new customer and supplier with a lot of knowledge and experience. The company has a clear ambition to bring positive and lasting change by creating a more sustainable and circular food system and we are proud to actively support each other in our mission”. Ronald van de Ven, director of Agrifirm North-West Europe: “Protix’s culture of execution fits in well with our ambitions. We will extend our research with their ingredients and develop exciting new products and concepts for chicken, layer and pig farmers in the Netherlands and beyond. We will also broaden our scope and are very excited to fully explore the potential of Protix’s natural soil enhancer containing high organic content and additional properties. We will execute extensive field tests and work with the Protix team and many potential customers to further commercialize this into new products that are healthy for us and the planet.” This announcement comes in the wake of a significant capacity expansion that Protix is currently realizing in the Netherlands and that will be in full gear in Q2, 2019.
Source: IPIFF Press Release
IPIFF – the European Umbrella Organisation representing the interests of the Insect Production sector for Food and Feed – emphasised the potential of the European insect sector towards more competitive and sustainable value chains.
Gathered in Brussels for the IPIFF 2018 Annual Conference, 200 participants, including European Commission Officials, Member States representatives and other delegates ranging from the insect sector, agri-food industry and scientists, recalled the potential laying in insects for food and feed, while highlighting the importance of EU legislation for the development of the sector.
Introducing the event, IPIFF President Antoine Hubert said ‘insect producers can make a significant contribution to competitive value chains, and European Regulations and EU funded research programmes offer many opportunities for insect producers to develop. Yet, the current regulatory framework must be adapted to ensure that this potential can be fully exploited’.
Bruno Gautrais, who is Head of Unit at the European Commission, shared the IPIFF President’s views: ‘EU policies and legislations must continue to evolve in order for the sector to further grow and innovate. However, these changes will not happen in one day, as we need to build up solid rules, guaranteeing a high level of safety for the use of insects in food and feed applications. Furthermore, a step by step approach is key to build credibility and trust in the sector’. Added the EU official. Insects as additional source of proteins are pertinent to respond to the challenges as singled out in the EU Protein plan. In this particular context, Javier Valle, who is Senior Policy Advisor at the European Farmers and Agri-Cooperatives Association (Copa-Cogeca) stated: ‘We do welcome the development of the insect sector, as it could bring promising solutions, in case insects would be authorized in poultry and pig feed in the near future following the relevant regulatory requirements. We do need to continue cooperating with insect producers to ensure these solutions best respond to livestock producers’ needs, and to explore avenues for EU farmers to tap into this new sector in the future’ added the Copa-Cogeca delegate. The event also shed light on several projects undertaken by IPIFF in the areas of food and feed safety: notably, the association is developing a guidance paper documenting best hygienic practices in insect production and has recently published guidelines to support insect producers in the preparation of novel food applications.
‘We trust that these works are useful for insect producers to conform with applicable legislations: our Guide on good hygiene practices should be published during the first quarter of 2019, while we expect the first novel food dossiers for insects as food to be authorized during the 2nd half 2019’, indicated the IPIFF President. This event ended with a Roundtable discussion gathering producers of other ‘new’ sources of protein (e.g. algae and yeast). Talking on behalf of the insect sector, the Vice President of the IPIFF Association, Adriana Casillas stated: ‘Insects should be envisaged alongside other ‘new’ sources of protein in order to close the feed gap. We must also acknowledge that animals have different nutritional requirements, for which different protein sources are needed. In this context, insects can contribute to improve the nutrient balance and quality in animal feed, in addition to other ingredients’, explained A. Casillas.
Looking ahead, the IPIFF Vice President concluded: ‘further research, investment, and legislative evolutions are needed to increase our sector’s capacities. More importantly, we must pursue our efforts towards building a responsible industry in order to maximise its contribution towards more competitive and sustainable food and feed value chains’.
“The approval of using insect protein for poultry feed can be expected in the not so distant future.”
This is according to Tarique Arsiwalla, chief commercial officer at insect producer Protix in the Netherlands and board member of the International Platform of Insectsfor Food and Feed (IPIFF).
The feeding of insect meal to farm animals is currently not allowed in the European Union. It is allowed for farmed fish and pet food. Live insects and insect oil are allowed to be fed to farm animals. For example, insect oil is already processed in piglet feed.
Ready for next step
“The insect sector is moving fast, fuelled by the approval to use insect protein in aquafeed in 2017, and now we are ready for the next step: approval of insect mealfor poultry diets”, says Arsiwalla. Considering the global scale of the poultry sector, the opportunities for companies like Protix are enormous. “The first drafts are being prepared right now, and with voting and actual implementation period taken into account, I expect that approval can be expected soon”, says Arsiwalla. He also addresses that the change in legislation will most likely be linked with the approval of meat and bone meal (pigs) for poultry diets.
Support from the European Commission
The Protix director addresses the support that the insect sector has from European policy makers. Arsiwalla: “And this is of utmost importance to move the insect sector to the next level. The European Commission embraces the use of insects but also demands that feed and food safety is not compromised, the sector has economic potential and doesn’t harm the environment. So this is the route we take: step by step expanding our markets while adhering to the highest safety standards. Between the first discussions on using insect meal in aquafeed until the actual approval it’s 4 years. This is quite quick for legislation change.”
Launching consumer products
Protix tries to turn insects into products for consumers to improve the visibility and acceptance of using insects in the feed and food chain. In the Netherlands, this has led to the introduction of Oerei (ancient egg) from layer hens fed on live insect larvae. These eggs are sold in the largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands, who will step up the number of sales outlets as of week 40, thanks to high demand for these types of eggs. On a European level, Protix has introduced the Friendly Salmon, farmed salmon fed on insect meal. Soon, the Dutch company will also introduce the Friendly Trout.
Stepping up production capacity
Last Friday, Protix celebrated the highest point reached in the construction of its new insect production facility in Bergen op Zoom, in the south of the Netherlands. A large part of the last funding has been used to finance this production facility. This multi-million dollar facility is the second facility for Protix and marks the change that is seen in the global insect sector. “This is a true demand-driven investment”. The volumes that we will produce here are largely pre-sold already in term contracts for the coming years for our existing and some new customers. Luckily, we can expand on the same location, so we can serve more clients in new markets in the near future. This will then also entail new clients that will use the insect meal for poultry diets, as soon as this is approved by Brussels,” Arsiwalla concludes.
Companies in Europe have developed new kinds of feed for salmon farms that could help the environment—if they can scale up quickly.
Researchers in the Netherlands have come up with a new, more sustainable way to feed salmon that are grown in aquaculture environments: insects. Most of the salmon that consumers eat is raised in pens, where they are fed a specific diet that helps them grow. In the past, much of that diet has been based on fish meal, a protein and nutrient-rich mixture made from fish that were caught expressly for the purpose of feeding them to other fish.
That practice has drawn criticism from conservationists, however, who point out that it’s an inefficient process that contributes to overfishing and the bycatch of sensitive marine organisms like whales and sea turtles.
Seeking an alternative, the Netherlands-based company Protix developed a fish meal that’s based on insects. Researchers came up with the idea for the insect-based feed when they noticed animals like chickens, when they’re young, eating insect larvae to gain protein.
“Salmon are one of the more demanding fish species to grow,” says Tarique Arsiwalla, chief commercial officer of Protix. Right now, in order to create fish meal for salmon to eat, much of the aquaculture industry is “catching fish we don’t like to eat to create the salmon that we want,” he notes.
Starting in 2014, teams at Protix researched different types of insects. Eventually, they discovered that the black soldier fly has a large amount of protein stored during its larvae stage because the fly doesn’t eat once it is hatched.
Salmon, which are notoriously picky, liked the food made from the black soldier flies better than the other alternatives.
Because salmon can take up to two and a half years to mature, and because most new types of feed are only tested for a couple of months, there is often reluctance in the aquaculture industry to try new kinds of feed, says Aarts. In an attempt to attract interest, Protix tested the new insect-based food for four years.
“We come from an age where we thought the big blue ocean was infinite,” says Kees Aarts, Chief Executive Officer of Protix. “But with increasing demand for production of salmon, we need that alternative.”
Getting Rid of Fish Meal
As recently as a few years ago, it took the equivalent of three fish ground up into meal to make enough food to sustain one farm-raised salmon. That’s not an efficient use of the world’s resources, environmentalists like Oceana and WWF said. At the same time, demand for salmon around the world has been soaring. In response, the industry worked hard and eventually got the ratio down to one and a half fish for every salmon produced (largely by adding plant-based foods like corn and soy to the mix). But that ratio still requires fishing.
The fish used to make the fish-based meal can contain traces of chemical runoff from soil, plastics that the animals may have encountered in the ocean, and other toxins (like mercury from power plant emissions). Those compounds can get ingested by salmon and eventually land on the dinner plate of the people who buy them.
Black soldier flies are being used for insect-based feed as an alternative to the controversial fish meal that was the aquaculture industry standard for decades. Tim Cashion, a University of British Columbia Ph.D. student in the Fisheries Economics Research Unit of the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, says the industry has already reduced the amount of fish meal used in the process substantially, from 100 percent in the 1960s and ‘70s down to about 30 percent when he last published a study on it in Norway in 2012. However, those sources don’t necessarily replace all of the amino acids that salmon need, and they don’t replace the fish oils that make salmon so healthy to eat.
“The oil might be the part that’s harder to replace,” Cashion says. “It’s about getting the kinds of fats that people want in their salmon. That’s why you can’t do a complete replacement of fish oil with other kinds of oils.”
While the insect-based feed only replaces the proteins that salmon eat, Aarts says alternatives for the fish oils, which are currently still sourced from ocean life, are also in development by companies like DSM and Evonik.
A major concern that companies like Protix are facing is the scale that’s needed for insect-based feed to be successful in the aquaculture industry.
“The current demand for fish meal is approximately 6 million tons per year,” Cashion says. “[If] the idea is to replace that 100 percent with insect feed or insect meal of various kinds, we need a lot of it. The current production as I understand it is not there, but this is obviously a fairly new kind of industry.”
He wonders if it is feasible to meet that kind of demand in a timely fashion, and says its success also depends on the price of the insect-based feed.
“If they can buy insect meal for cheaper than fish meal and they can get the same results, they will likely do it, if it can work at the scale they’re producing at,” he says.
Because it is still a new product, Aarts says the insect-based meal is still slightly more expensive than fish meal, but fish meal prices are expected to rise as the amount of fish in the ocean decreases and demand for salmon continues to increase. As Protix expands to address the amount of feed that is needed, Aarts expects scale factors to drive the cost of the feed down as well.
Different Feed, Same Great Taste
The flavor of the salmon that ends up on consumers’ plates isn’t impacted by insect-based feed, either, says Arsiwalla. “The best result we could get was that it tastes like a salmon should taste, even though we made a significant change in the feed,” he says. “A salmon should taste like a salmon.”
To prove it, the company had their salmon taste-tested in blind judging. No one could tell the difference between their salmon and the salmon raised on conventional feed.
Protix is now working on scaling up their production, which is based in the Netherlands but has new projects across Europe, Asia, and Mexico. They are working on using food waste from vegetables produced by other food companies to feed the fly larvae, which they grow in their own facility. They will be opening a second facility soon, and together with other companies that make insect-based feed, they successfully lobbied the European Union for approval to sell their products in countries that are a part of the union as of July 2017.
“We believe the industry is set to grow fast,” Aarts says. “Our aim is to show safety, economic, and environmental potential of this new category of ingredients, from which new releases can be developed, like the inclusion in chicken feed.”
After the EU’s approval, Aarts says there was a fast increase in demand for insect-based feed. Protix is interested in working on feed for other aquaculture species as well, like trout and shrimp.
“We have to take care of our planet, and we believe that all people need to have access to proper nutrition in all phases of life,” says Aarts. “That also means [proper nutrition] for the animals we grow to feed ourselves.”
Protix, producer of insect protein production, and Hendrix Genetics, global multi-species animal genetics company, will team up to develop an insect breeding programme.
The programme aims to further improve the potential of insects as an efficient protein converter from feedstock to ingredient.
Founded on the achievements made in the production of black soldier flies, the new collaboration will further deepen the potential of insects as a source of high-quality nutrition. This applies to both the potential insects have as protein extractors from food leftovers, and their ability to be a quality source of nutrition for animal feed and human food.
Sharing knowledge speeds up innovation
“At Protix we have dedicated ourselves to the development of the necessary technologies to produce insects at scale in a safe and hygienic way. It is time for the next step and partner in breeding to realise our full potential,” according to Bas Jurgens, COO of Protix. Johan van Arendonk, Chief Technology & Innovation Officer at Hendrix Genetics acknowledges the great potential of the collaboration and stated: “Partnering with Protix offers a unique opportunity to jointly create world leading programme in insect breeding. Hendrix Genetics is truly multi-species focused and we experience every day that sharing knowledge across species speeds up innovation. Working on insects adds a new dimension and opportunity to create added value.”
The insect industry is growing quickly, especially after the EU allowed insect protein to be used as an aquaculture feed ingredient. Photo: Shutterstock
Benefit to all parties
Collaboration is well underway and Protix and Hendrix Genetics together expect results that can offer a strong benefit to all parties in the insect protein business. Both parties believe that it adds to the professional capacity of Protix, to further grow and to accelerate the industry at large. The insect industry is growing quickly, especially after the EU allowed insect protein to be used as an aquaculture feed ingredient. Over the last decade this novel industry of insect based ingredients for feed and food has developed greatly and experienced an increased level of professionalisation.
Dongen, The Netherlands (June 13, 2017) – Today, the insect supply industry reached a significant milestone with Netherlands-based Protix, the leading insect company, closing 45M€ in funding – delivered by Aqua-Spark, the first investment company focused on sustainable aquaculture, Rabobank, BOM and various private investors.
Enterra Feed Corporation has received approval from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to sell its Whole Dried Black Soldier Fly Larvae as a feed ingredient for salmonids, including farmed salmon, trout and arctic char.
With this approval, the company is now the first to market and sell this sustainable, natural product to aquaculture feed manufacturers in Canada. This is the first Canadian approval of an insect-based aquaculture feed ingredient, and follows the CFIA’s approval using this same product in feed for chicken broilers last year. Enterra received a similar US approval for use in salmonid feeds in 2016.
Canada is the fourth-largest producer of farmed salmon in the world, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. In 2015 the farm gate value (the net value when it leaves the farm) of salmon and trout in Canada was $850 million1.
Digestible and renewable source of protein
“Aquaculture feed producers have been keenly awaiting this approval and we look forward to supplying their needs immediately,” said Andrew Vickerson, Chief Technology Officer, Enterra. “Fish eat insects in their natural environment and our product is a healthy, digestible and renewable source of protein and fat that can replace less sustainable ingredients, including fish meal and soybean meal.”
Production of fish meal, which is a standard aquaculture feed ingredient, can deplete wild ocean fish stocks and is subject to substantial price fluctuations. Soybean meal requires significant agricultural inputs that could otherwise be used more efficiently to grow food for people.
“Insects are a natural source of digestible protein and fat for fish, including salmon and trout,” said Dr Brad Hicks, a veterinarian and partner in Taplow Feeds, an aquaculture feed manufacturer. “This product will contribute to healthy, active fish and is a great alternative feed ingredient.”
Black soldier fly is a beneficial insect
Enterra uses the larvae of the black soldier fly, a beneficial insect species that is highly efficient at upcycling complex nutrients in pre-consumer waste food into an excellent source of protein and fat, perfect for inclusion in feed for fish, poultry, pets and zoo animals. These innovative products offer a sustainable alternative to resource-intensive feed ingredients like fish meal, fish oil, soybean meal, palm kernel oil and coconut oil.
Insect producer AgriProtein has signed a deal with Saudi technology hub Sajt to build a commercial-scale production of insect-based animal feed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Sajt will use AgriProtein’s factory blueprint to build the first of three fly farms in Saudi Arabia, boosting food security and supporting Vision 2030.
Announcing the agreement the vice-president of Sajt explained: “The Kingdom is currently entirely reliant on imported feed for the burgeoning aquaculture and poultry industries. AgriProtein’s world-leading technology will help us to deliver on several Vision 2030 goals, as well as support the Ministry of Agriculture’s food security objectives. With AgriProtein, we can now produce sustainable, natural protein locally, and in time completely do away with reliance on imported feed.”
The world’s biggest fly-farmer, AgriProtein has developed a blueprint for mass-production of sustainable animal feeds as an alternative to fishmeal widely used in aquaculture and agriculture.
Said AgriProtein co-founder and CEO Jason Drew: “We’re delighted that Sajt shares our vision. Fishmeal production is destroying the marine environment. Replacing it with insect meal leaves more fish in the sea for human consumption, allows the oceans to heal and reduces greenhouse gases at every stage of the supply chain from point-of-catch to point-of-sale. We estimate an environmental cost saving of $US2,000 per tonne in reduced CO2.”
The partners believe this is the ideal time to launch the initiative. The Kingdom’s agricultural sector is predicted to rise to $US1.7 billion within the next four years. Farmed fish volumes are expected to reach one million tonnes per year and Saudi poultry production is set to increase 52% by 2018, driven by government plans to achieve self-sufficiency.
And with water conservation a key priority in the region, insect protein production is much more water-efficient than other protein production processes.
AgriProtein has set up camp in North America with the aim of building 20 fly farms in the US and Canada in pursuit of its global targets of 100 fly farms by 2024 and 200 by 2027.
The world’s biggest fly-farmer and first commercial-scale insect meal producer, AgriProtein is building a global network of insect protein factories mass-producing sustainable animal feeds to replace fishmeal used in aquaculture, agriculture and petfood.
On the supply side of the business, AgriProtein’s technology helps tackle the world’s growing waste crisis by rearing fly larvae on a massive scale on organic waste, which would otherwise go to landfill. Co-founder and CEO Jason Drew explains: “With supplies of fishmeal dwindling we’re moving as quickly as we can to bring insect protein into the mainstream of animal feed. As well as ensuring continued supply of protein in the years ahead, replacing fishmeal with insect meal allows our oceans to heal, reduces greenhouse gases at every stage of the supply chain from point-of-catch to point-of-sale and leaves more fish in the sea for humans.”
A dedicated North American team
Now AgriProtein has set up a dedicated North American team to develop its business locally and build an R&D capability. Headed by Jon Duschinsky, it will identify suitable locations and licensing partners for fly-farm operations in the US and Canada. The company announced the North America initiative at the World AgriTech Innovation Summit 2017 in San Francisco. Duschinsky: “The US is the world’s biggest consumer of protein and the world’s biggest producer of organic waste, a very important market for us. And as AgriProtein is disrupting 3 industries – agriculture, aquaculture and animal feed – it’s natural we chose the world centre of disruptive technologies to launch our North American campaign.”
AgriProtein has allocated several international licenses to use its technology in Asia, Australasia and the Middle East. Last week the company signed an agreement to build 3 fly farms in Saudi Arabia.
A new study looked at possibilities to attract the Black Soldier Fly to the Bondo area of Western Kenya, and to develop appropriate methods for larvae farming for utilisation as poultry feed and fish feed in smallholder farming systems in Kenya.
Small scale poultry and fish farmers in Africa are suffering from the increasing cost of feed (such as fishmeal), which now accounts for nearly 70 to 80% of the total production costs. This leads to increased prices and shortages of milk, meat and eggs. Finding cheaper feed ingredients such as insect protein from the Black Soldier Fly (BSF) is therefore applauded. In the wild, many kinds of livestock including poultry and fish naturally feed on BSF larvae whose nutritional composition is as good as fishmeal and comparably better than soybean.
Stimulating natural conditions
The BSF has been reported in almost 80% of the world including Africa. In Africa, BSF has only been sighted in Ghana and South Africa where the larval stage is used for compositing organic matter. There is no documented evidence of them being sighted in Kenya. The current study set out to simulate the natural conditions that attract the adult females to oviposit in such areas, establish the insect’s nativity in the Bondo area of western Kenya, and identify suitable organic substrates that can be utilised for its production at a small scale level. The study consequently reports on a simple method for farming BSF larvae on various organic waste substrates as an alternative source of protein, which can be adopted by smallholder farming systems.
4 different type of attractant substrates were used in the study:
BSF attracted to vegetable waste and maize
On day 2 to day 4, different insect types were observed frequenting the different attractant wastes. These included the common housefly, green bottle fly, blowflies and sandflies among others. However, no BSF was observed during this period. The first BSF was observed on day 5 on the plastic pipes of the feeding structure with vegetable wastes and the mashed maize grain that had started producing putrescent.
Nutritional value compared to soy and fishmeal
To ascertain the potential of wild BSF larvae as a protein source in poultry and fish feeds, proximate, mineral and vitamin composition were analysed and compared with reported values for fishmeal and soybean reported in literature.
Developing a cheap open system
To facilitate production of BSF larvae from various household wastes, an open system consisting of larvae feeding structure was used. Such a system is not only cheap to construct, but is also not labour intensive as mature larvae (prepupa) voluntarily migrate out of the rotting feedstock into a nearby provided container, if the feeding structure is designed correctly. Only occasional removal of the rotten compost and replenishment of the feeding substrate is necessary. In addition, most of the substrates used are either by-products or waste products of the agricultural industry, and are locally available. This ensures the sustainability of production system.
BSF has been spotted in the Bondo area in Kenya, and its female adults can be attracted to oviposit on locally available organic substrate waste in amounts that can support small-scale fish and or poultry farming. The total yield of the harvested BSF highly dependent on the substrate used as both an attractant and feedstock. The method used in this study is not labour intensive and therefore adoptable by local farmers keen on supplementing the protein needs of their livestock. We therefore recommend this open system of farming BSF larvae for adoption by smallholder farmers under the local existing environmental conditions.
The results of this study have been published in the latest edition of the Journal of Insects as Food and Feed.
Insect meal is expected to be allowed in livestock feed by 2020. This is the prediction of Dutch bank ABN Amro in its recent publication about the opportunities and limitations of insects for food, feed and pet food.
The report (in Dutch) gives a clear outline of the current situation of insect production and the application of insect protein and insect oil in various segments. It states that the insect business is growing fast. Since 2000, companies have been founded in the US, Canada, China, South Africa and Europe. The growth of the insect rearing sector is best reflected in the growth of the Black Soldier Fly (BSF). Global production of BSF is growing rapidly; from 7,000-8,000 tonnes wet weight in 2014-2015 to 14,000 tonnes in 2016.
According to the bank’s publication, within the current legislation a lot is already possible for the human food and pet food sectors, but the EU legislation doesn’t allow the use of insect protein yet. ABN Amro states that there are promising prospects related to possible changes of the EU legislation. Once the legislation will change and feeding insect protein becomes allowed, the market perspective will become even brighter.
Aquafeed: Q3 2017
Since the BSE crisis, Europe enforces the TSE legislation. In short, this means that no processed animal protein are allowed to use in food producing animals. Over the last years, several insect producing companies, together with major stakeholders,. Have lobbied to make an exception for insect meal. This has had an effect. At the moment, the DG Health and Food Safety of the European Commission is preparing a voting in the EC for the introduction of insect meal in aquaculture diets through the regulation 56/2013. Earlier assessments among EU member states made clear that most member states are willing to change the current legislation to make introduction of insect meal in fish diets possible. It is expected that new legislation will come into force in the third quarter of 2017. The International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF) expects that on the long term (after 2023) insect meal can also compete with the price of fish meal. This will open up further growth of use if insect meal in the aquaculture industry.
Poultry and pig feed: 2020
The European TSE legislation prohibits the use of dead insects or processed insects in feed for chickens and pigs. However, it is allowed to feed live insects, insect oil or hydrolysed protein. Dutch firm Coppens for example already mixes insect oil in their commercial pig feed. More research is being carried out the further confirm the health promoting benefits of chitin and lauric acid (found in insects) for animals. Wageningen UR in the Netherlands for example is an active player in this type of research. IPIFF says that the allowance of insect meal for pigs and poultry will be the main focus after approval of its use in aquafeed. Given the effort required, IPIFF expects that amendments for pig and poultry feed take place in 2020. This will create more market opportunities for insect meal to enter the huge poultry feed market as of 2023. A prerequisite for success is that production volumes will rise and the cost price of insect meal drops. In the figure below a rough calculation on the expected demand of insect meal when certain ingredients in aquafeed, pig and poultry feed are partly replaced.
Price comparison of insect meal
It should be noted The production volumes of fish meal, high quality soybean meal extract, and soybean meal is hundreds of times larger then protein products from insects. ABN Amro published a price comparison in the report in which trading prices of protein, derived from various sources are compared. It is clear that the BSF and small mealworm are the most competitive ones, compared to the existing, high-quality protein sources like fishmeal and high-quality soy meal. As soon as the insect meal sector matures, it can become more efficient, hence bringing the cost down.
16 januari 2017 Source: De Molenaar
Bühler and Protix have founded the joint venture Bühler Insect Technology Solutions. This joint venture will develop scalable, industrial solutions for the rearing, and processing of insects to provide protein primarily for animal feed and food.
Bühler Insect Technology Solutions is located in China and has already begun operations. “By combining the knowledge and experience of our two companies, we can provide industrial insect processing solutions to address the alternative protein market,” explains Ian Roberts, CTO of Bühler. “Together, we can develop both sustainable and cost effective solutions for large scale insect producers and processors that cover the whole value chain,” adds Kees Aarts, CEO of Protix.
One of the most promising sources to generate protein sustainably and with a low footprint is insect. Fly larvae or mealworms, for instance, are easy to breed and can be fed with organic waste. They are remarkably efficient at converting feed into protein and require little space to cultivate.
Because of these advantages, insects have attracted considerable attention from start-ups and established players in the food industry in recent years. Protix was founded in 2009 in the Netherlands. In just a few years, thanks to its dedicated team of highly skilled professionals, the company developed proprietary equipment and solutions gaining extensive operational expertise not only in the breeding and rearing cycle, but also in separating and extracting proteins and lipids from insects. With a pilot plant, it processes 1,600 tonnes of insect larvae per year and produces high quality, insect-based ingredients. The company was recognized as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum in 2015.
“Protix is the most advanced insect company that has demonstrated industrial-scale production in a way that is scalable and multipliable. They have proven how to create a market in insect protein,” explains Roberts. Now they are ready to take the company to the next level and need a partner who understands the requirements of large, industrial processors. This is where Bühler steps in. “Bühler has a strong, established business providing technologies for animal feed, and protein from the insects can be used in pellets, or directly as animal feed. With our global market access, technology base, and engineering capabilities, combined with the deep knowledge, experience and entrepreneurial flair of Protix, we have the ingredients for a successful commercial partnership,” Roberts says.
Bühler Insect Technologies is located in Liyang, China. The goal of the joint venture is to develop industrial scale solutions for feedstock processing, larvae rearing and larvae processing, and to produce high-quality insect ingredients – covering the whole value chain from rearing to separation and extraction of proteins and lipids. Initially, the focus will be on larvae of the Black Soldier Fly. Subsequently there will be a diversification to other insects, such as mealworms. The insect proteins will be used primarily for the production of sustainable animal feed, for example in aquaculture, which is the fastest growing agricultural segment in the world.
Intrexon will acquire the business of EnviroFlight, 29 February 2016. Source: WATTAgNet.com.
Intrexon Corp., a leader in synthetic biology, has agreed to acquire the business of EnviroFlight L.L.C. and form a joint venture with Darling Ingredients Inc., the world’s largest publicly traded developer and producer of sustainable natural ingredients from bio-nutrients.
EnviroFlight has developed proprietary technologies which enable the rearing of non-pathogenic black soldier fly (BSF) larvae in an industrially scalable manner. This innovative and responsible approach has considerable potential within the $60 billion global animal feed industry as it will provide an environmentally friendly, toxin-free, sustainable source of high-value nutrients.
“Current trends in human population growth drive increased demand for protein supply in food production, and we believe that BSF larvae provide the potential to revolutionize the animal feed industries,” said Corey Huck, senior vice president and head of Intrexon’s food sector. “Through our partnership with Darling, the world’s largest producer of sustainable natural ingredients, we look forward to employing EnviroFlight’s platform to create high-nutrition, low environmental impact animal and fish feed as well as fertilizer products.”
EnviroFlight’s scalable approach utilizing BSF larvae opens the door to a plentiful source of high-quality nutrients for the aquaculture and livestock industries. Notably within the fish and poultry markets, BSF larvae may be more representative of the typical diet of these natural insectivores than soymeal and other plant-based meal regimens. Additionally, fishmeal and fish oil are multi-billion-dollar products critical to aquaculture’s continued growth, yet demand is outpacing the fairly inflexible supply for these valuable feeds whose manufacture are heavily dependent on wild-caught fish.
“Black Soldier Fly larvae meal may represent a very useful ingredient in aquaculture and importantly it has no impact on the marine ecosystem,” said Rick Barrows, Ph.D., research physiologist for Agricultural Research Service in the United States Department of Agriculture. Barrows added, “Starter diets for rainbow trout incorporating BSF larvae meal resulted in an increase in feed consumption and growth, showing high palatability suggesting it could be useful with some of the more finicky species such as salmon and yellowtail. Furthermore we have also found the essential nutrients in BSF larvae meal to have high digestibility.”
In addition to reducing the depletion of marine ecosystems and decreasing dependence on non-sustainable protein sources, EnviroFlight’s insect-based approach offers significant potential to recover the abundant food surpluses given its proficiency converting organic materials into valuable proteins and oils. While working with regulatory agencies to gain approvals for the use of BSF larvae for food animals, EnviroFlight will continue to supply select markets with high-quality animal feed and all-natural fertilizers.
“We are excited to enter this new collaboration with Intrexon, a leader in bio-based solutions to global problems, and to further enhance our broad bio-nutrient product portfolio continuing our goal of providing nutritional, functional, and ecological ingredients for animals,” said Randall Stuewe, chairman and CEO of Darling Ingredients.
“EnviroFlight has focused on driving necessary change in the global food supply chain, and we look forward to working with Intrexon and Darling Ingredients to realize the considerable promise of insect bioconversion to offer solutions that meet this goal,” said Glen Courtright, president of EnviroFlight.
Paris and London, 15th December 2016 – Ynsect – the global leader in the mass-scale breeding of insects for the animal feed markets – today announces that it has closed a $15.2m Series B round led by Future Positive Capital, Quadia SA and Bpifrance Ecotechnologies, with participation from existing investors Emertec, Demeter, Vis Vires New Protein Capital and Business Angels. This latest round brings the cumulative amount Ynsect has raised, from private and public sources, to $37m over the last three years – the largest-ever investment in the sector.
The announcement comes as EU member states this week endorsed a European Commission proposal to allow the wider use of insect proteins in animal feed. A vote taken on Tuesday, during a session of the EU Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCoPAFF), clears the way for insect proteins to be used in fish feed in Europe from July 2017. An industry game-changer, the decision was brought about in large part thanks to the advocacy work of the International Platform for Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF), of which Ynsect’s CEO Antoine Hubert is President.
Ynsect farms and transforms insects into a high-quality natural diet for livestock and pet nutrition. With cutting-edge R&D, patented technologies and a world-leading multidisciplinary team, whose skills range from physiological entomology to biochemistry through robotics and IT, Ynsect was founded on a single visionary idea: placing insect-derived protein at the heart of the agri-food system to sustainably address the growing global demand for meat and fish.
“Few people today are aware of how the animals they eat have been fed,” explains Ynsect CEO Antoine Hubert, who cofounded the company in September 2011 alongside Alexis Angot, Jean-Gabriel Levon and Fabrice Berro. “In fact, farmed animals mostly consume GM soya, grains, and sometimes poultry feather meal, as well as fish meal. It was fish meal, in particular, which caught our attention.
“Fish meal is derived from catches of small fish, the global supply of which is under duress due to overfishing. In turn, that’s causing severe depletion of ocean biodiversity, and leading to food safety concerns due to the high content of heavy metals which bio-accumulate within dwindling fish stocks.”
While insects account for a significant share of the diets of fish, birds and mammals in the wild, the same isn’t true of their farmed equivalents, Antoine Hubert continues. “At Ynsect, we produce insect proteins that can change this unnatural and unsustainable situation. We can now feed animals with a higher quality and more nutritious diet, while reducing the amount of fish meal they consume. Crucially, we can also combine this with far greater sustainability.”
Ynsect’s main product today is known as ‘TMP’ – Tenebrio molitor protein – a de-fatted protein meal made of farmed mealworm larvae. To date, TMP is the only insect protein that shows considerable benefits to animal growth and health, when fish meal is substituted with TMP in their diets.
The company has designed proprietary technology to farm mealworm larvae, as well as other insects. Automation and machine-learning software are connected to sensors embedded in the farm, to ensure the highest-possible welfare standards for the insects, while promoting animal growth and safeguarding operators’ health. As well as owning the leading patent portfolio in the sector globally, Ynstitute — as Ynsect’s headquarters and R&D centre is known — is the largest private research facility in this field worldwide.
Antoine Hubert and the team will use the investment to increase capacity at Ynsite, Ynsect’s pilot centre in Jura, France, and to begin preparatory engineering work on the world’s largest insect unit that will have the capacity to produce at least 20,000 metric tons of insect protein a year.
The company’s initial focus has been on early-adopter fish feed and pet food companies, for whom the superior quality and 72% protein content of Ynsect’s TMP – which is the same protein level as that of the highest-grade fish meal – is a major selling point. Once Ynsect’s new unit begins production, the team expects several large animal feed players to become customers.
“The four of us started the company because we wanted to improve a global food system that is unsustainable and leading to a host of undesired impacts, including growing greenhouse gas emissions, the collapse in oceanic biodiversity and anxieties over food safety and security,” says Antoine Hubert. “That’s why we’re so delighted that some of the most renowned and innovative investors in the food tech and clean tech sectors, Future Positive Capital and Bpifrance Ecotechnologies, are joining us to help make our vision – of insects playing the same leading role in the global food system as they occupy in the wild – a reality.”
Sofia Hmich, founder of Future Positive Capital, says: “This investment shows our long-term commitment to finding and supporting companies who are tackling intractable global challenges head on, with world-beating IP and flawless execution. We’re so excited for Antoine and his team, and looking forward to seeing Ynsect grow into a major global agro-food player.” (Sofia Hmich has published a post that highlights her investment thesis about Ynsect.)
Gilles Schang, Deputy Managing Director Ecotechnology Investments at Bpifrance Investment, adds: “Ynsect is a true pioneer in breeding insects for animal feed and has established itself as the frontrunner in the rapid development of this market. We are delighted to be positioning ourselves alongside the company’s founders and management in order to make Ynsect the global leader of disruptive agro-food technologies and to deploy worldwide the expertise they have developed in France.”