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Innovafeed accelerates its international development

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Opening of the world’s largest insect protein production site

Less than 18 months after the laying of the first stone, InnovaFeed opened the world’s largest insect protein production site in Nesle, North of France. This marks the culmination of an innovative agro-industrial project which constitutes a world first, in terms of production capacity achieved and environmental performance obtained, thanks to its unique industrial symbiosis model.

The company, that developed a new source of high-quality insect protein derived from the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens), now plans to launch a new protein product specifically designed for shrimp, that combines a certified 50% lower carbon footprint with stand-out performance – improving feed efficiency by up to 27%, growth rate by up to 24% and reducing mortality due to disease.

After the opening in 2017 of a pilot plant in the North of France, InnovaFeed capitalized on its building momentum by initiating the construction of the Nesle site. With the opening of the Nesle site, InnovaFeed is taking that new step. With a capacity of 15,000 tons of insect protein, the Nesle site becomes the world's largest operating production unit, which will ultimately feed the equivalent of 400,000 tons of fish, poultry and pigs a year.

This achievement is made possible thanks to InnovaFeed’s disruptive technology, which combines robotics and artificial intelligence. In total, more than 3,000 sensors associated with the optical counting systems developed in-house by InnovaFeed make it possible to optimize and monitor at all times the rearing conditions of the 20,000 eggs collected every second.

Beyond its unprecedented capacity and technological sophistication, this new site stands out for its environmental performance. Its design is centered around a model of industrial symbiosis with its industrial partners, allowing a 100% circular production which saves 57,000 tons of CO2 every year. This model makes the Nesle site the most environmentally efficient in the world, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 80% compared to other existing models – according to the Life Cycle Analysis study carried out by independent experts, Quantis.

New fundraising to accelerate its expansion strategy

The opening of the Nesle site also paves the way for new developments. Building on this industrial success, InnovaFeed concluded new fundraising of €140 million, half of which is equity, thus bringing its secured financing to €200 million since its creation in 2016. This fundraising testifies to the industrial achievements of InnovaFeed since 2018 and the continued support from existing shareholders, Creadev and Temasek, and the ambition of InnovaFeed for the sector.

This fundraising will contribute to the future development projects of InnovaFeed in France, but also internationally, with the construction of new sites planned in Southeast Asia and more imminently in the U.S.

Partnership with ADM in the U.S. to launch its international development

InnovaFeed also partnered with ADM to deploy its industrial model on the largest American agricultural site (and the largest corn processing site in the world), in Decatur (Illinois). Construction will begin in 2021 and targets a capacity of 60,000 tons of insect protein per year.

ADM Decatur's corn-based byproducts will be locally upcycled to feed insects, directly conveyed through infrastructure connecting both companies. This production model will also allow InnovaFeed to use 27MW of residual energy recovered from the ADM process, an energy that was not previously recovered.

“At a time when the demand for animal feed protein is steadily increasing, insect farming stands out as a true solution for the future,” said Chris Cuddy, ADM senior vice president and president of the company’s Carbohydrate Solutions business. “We’re excited to work with InnovaFeed on this ambitious project. It’s a great demonstration of how ADM is expanding its value chain by offering opportunities for collaboration to leading, innovative companies.”

These new projects aim at responding to a market with high growth potential

This ramp-up of InnovaFeed and the international deployment of its technology aims to cement its leading position in the high-quality animal nutrition market, a market with considerable growth potential. In this regard, InnovaFeed's products have demonstrated unmatched performance, especially in the alternative protein industry. This performance has enabled InnovaFeed to forge commercial partnerships with the largest players in the sector such as Cargill and Italpollina.

“When we looked at the insect market, the black soldier fly clearly stood out to us as the best insect solution in terms of performance and nutritional quality. Our analyzes convinced us that InnovaFeed offered the best product on the market, not only for its quality and performance but also thanks to InnovaFeed's ability to deploy on a large scale,” said Hélène Ziv, risk management and sourcing director at Cargill.

Since 2017 InnovaFeed has also forged a strategic partnership with Auchan to launch the world’s first “insect-fed” trout value chain. In June, they reinforced this collaboration, launching a second revolutionary value chain, “insect-fed” poultry.

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