Aquaculture for all

Innovafeed opens US insect plant

Feed ingredients Alternative proteins +2 more

Innovafeed, a global leader in the production of insect ingredients for high-quality animal feed, pet food and plant nutrition, has inaugurated its North American Insect Innovation Center (NAIIC) in Decatur, Illinois today.

A handfull of fly larvae.
Innovafeed's first two industrial plants, which produce insect protein for animal and pet nutrition, are in northern France

© Innovafeed

This pilot plant is the first step of the company’s planned industrial expansion to North America and aims to scale up production and commercialisation of insect protein in the USA.

Founded in 2016, Innovafeed currently operates two industrial plants in northern France, producing insect protein for animal and pet nutrition. The company breeds black soldier flies (Hermetia illucens) in state-of-the-art indoor farms, using agricultural by-products from its strategic partner, ADM, as the feedstock for the insects.

The larvae yield insect meal, oil and insect waste-based fertiliser, under the brand Hilucia. To date, it has secured more than $1 billion in commercial contracts for its fly protein products for the aquaculture, pet food and poultry feed markets.

Corn-fed insects

The French startup emphasises that the location of the plant is not coincidental, being in the heart of the corn belt, adjacent to ADM’s North American headquarters and the world’s largest corn mill operations, with hundreds of processing plants across multiple states, the region offers high potential for multiple sites to be deployed in the future. The broader area is also a historical innovation hub for the agro-industry, making it a strategic location for Innovafeed to serve its core markets.

Since 2023, the company in partnership with ADM, has commercialised Hilucia insect ingredients for the pet food market in North America. As part of this effort, ADM has invested in a comprehensive R&D study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with results to be released later this year, demonstrating the nutritional and health benefits of its ingredients.

Future opportunities with other types of animal feed are also being explored as part of the comprehensive partnership between the two companies.

“We are thrilled to partner with Innovafeed on this exciting project that highlights our commitment to responsible and sustainable sourcing. Our collaboration is a great example of how we are constantly seeking innovative solutions to meet the growing demand for alternative protein sources in animal and pet products. By expanding our value chain and offering collaboration opportunities to leading, innovative partners, we are positioning ADM as the provider of choice for responsible, sustainable materials across the food, beverage, feed, fuel, consumer product and industrial spaces. We are proud to be a part of this job-creating project and look forward to the positive impact it will have on our communities,” said ADM senior vice president and president of ADM’s Carbohydrate Solutions business, Chris Cuddy.

A pipeline will connect the plant to the ADM’s corn processing wet mill, allowing it to directly recover up to 300,000 tonnes per year of by-products. These will be transformed into high-quality insect ingredients producing up to 60,000 metric tonnes of animal feed protein derived from Hermetia illucens. Additionally, it will generate 20,000 tonnes of oils for poultry and swine rations each year, along with 400,000 tonnes of soil amendment.

In Decatur, the planned large-scale manufacturing facility will replicate an industrial symbiosis model pioneered by Innovafeed in France. A comprehensive life cycle analysis (LCA) is still to be conducted at the NAIIC.

“We chose Decatur for our first US operation because of its location in the heart of the Midwest corn belt and its proximity to our partner ADM and other agribusiness leaders. ADM’s corn by-products are a rich resource that we will leverage to fuel our black soldier fly production. 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 decarbonising the industrial sector,” said Clément Ray, CEO of Innovafeed.

Innovafeed was delighted to welcome Governor JB Pritzker at the inauguration.

“Innovative, exciting new approaches to agricultural and environmental challenges are what Illinois is all about, from the invention of the farm silo to global leaders like Innovafeed,” said Governor Pritzker.

“This expansion, perfectly situated in Illinois’s rich corn country, demonstrates a commitment to Illinois as a place to grow and continue to innovate, and I’m glad to welcome Innovafeed to Illinois.”

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