Aquaculture for all

Ÿnsect acquires Dutch mealworm farming firm

Feed ingredients

Ÿnsect, one of the world’s leading producers of insect-derived protein for uses including the aquafeed sector, has branched out into the human food sector, with the acquisition of Protifarm.

The deal with Protifarm, which has a production site in the Netherlands, solidifies the company’s position as the world’s largest producer of insects for food and feed.

“Protifarm is a compelling strategic fit for Ÿnsect, perfectly matching our long-term goals and sustainability values. Acquiring Protifarm is a strategic next step for us, strengthening Ÿnsect’s leading position in the global market and allowing us to properly address the human food and pet-food markets with complementary products,” explains Antoine Hubert, co-founder and CEO of Ÿnsect.

Although the acquisition means that Ÿnsect is accelerating its development in the food sector, but feed (for fish and pets) remains a priority for the company. Ÿnsite farm in eastern France produces about 1,000 tonnes of ingredient per year, a third of which is protein for the nutrition of farmed fish and pets. Ÿnfarm, its vertical farm under construction in northern France, will eventually produce 200,000 tonnes of ingredients, a third of which will be protein for the nutrition of farmed fish and pets.

The Protifarm deal follows the decision of the European Food Safety Authority to deem mealworms safe for human consumption this January.

The EU deemed mealworm products safe for human consumption in January 2021

© Ÿnsect

Protifarm's state-of-the-art vertical farm and processing facility produces more than 1,000 tonnes of food ingredients annually. The Dutch company aims to expand the facility to 20,000 tonnes of insect-derived ingredients to feed humans, pets and plants. With two Ÿnsect production sites in operation and one under construction, the result is an increase in volume and an acceleration of production and delivery to customers in the short and medium term. When completed the total capacity will be of over 230,000 tonnes of ingredients per annum.

Protifarm brings nearly 40 years of experience in insect breeding and owns 37 patents across 10 categories, bringing the total number of patents owned by Ÿnsect to nearly 300.

“The evolution of a more sustainable and healthier intake of nutrition is only at its beginning, but the demand for products meeting these standards is set to grow exponentially in the coming years. The consolidation of Protifarm’s leading position in insect-based human premium food ingredients with the leading player in insect-based premium feed and pet food ingredients will expand our scale to meet this demand globally,” comments Tom Mohrmann, CEO of Protifarm.

Ÿnsect will also gain a skilled workforce from Protifarm, with expertise essential to this integration. The Dutch production site employs about 50 people in production, R&D, and cross-functional areas. The local management team will remain in place, in charge of integrating Protifarm into the Ÿnsect group.

A common vision for the mealworm

According to Ÿnsect, mealworm ingredients are premium products as they are uniquely “food grade” compared to other insects used only in animal feed. As Protifarm's Buffalo mealworm and Ÿnsect's Molitor mealworm meet complementary needs, the company now offers a platform of interchangeable food and feed ingredients that addresses the demand for different premium applications coming from two types of mealworm.

Molitor-based ŸnMeal is produced for sports performance and food supplements. Its high protein and low ash content make it a highly digestible premium ingredient that can be used as a supplement for digestive diseases. Combined with its superior amino acid profile and exceptional capabilities in reducing cholesterol levels (study by the Justus-Liebig University of Giessen in Germany showed a dramatic 60 percent reduction in cholesterol when mice were fed ŸnMeal is a highly efficient source of necessary supplements in both sports nutrition and elderly nutrition.

On the other hand, the Buffalo mealworm-based products sold under the brand AdalbaPro offer technical functionalities, like texture, binding and solubility. The AdalbaPro ingredients show excellent nutritional properties (protein, vitamin B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, B12, potassium and calcium) combined with a mild flavour. These ingredients allow the creation of tailor-made solutions for the food industry that are suitable for a wide range of product applications, including meat replacement, protein bars, shakes, baked products, snacks, confectionery and beverages.

Ÿnsect also plans to reach out to new customers in wet pet food with Protifarm’s production surplus of Buffalo mealworms.

Protifarm’s founding and lead investor Marvesa has confirmed their strong belief in the insect protein space by becoming shareholders of the Ÿnsect mother company with this operation, thereby further expanding Ÿnsect’s shareholders footprint to the Netherlands.