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Malaysia set for SE Asia's largest insect meal production facility

29 July 2019, at 10:31am

Funding to create the largest high-tech commercial-scale insect protein production facility in Southeast Asia has been secured by Nutrition Technologies.

The funding will allow the Singapore-based agri-food tech company to produce over 18,000 tonnes of insect-based feed ingredients and organic fertilisers every year and was provided by a consortium of investors led by Openspace Ventures and SEEDS Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore.

Black soldier fly larvae
Black soldier fly larvae

© Nutrition Technologies

This round of investment is the first since SEEDS Capital appointed seven co-investment partners in January 2019 to catalyse over S$90 million worth of investments to develop Singapore-based agri-food tech start-ups.

After completing three years developing proprietary technology, in 2018 Nutrition Technologies started commercial production of protein & oil from black soldier fly larvae as a sustainable alternative to fishmeal. The new industrial-scale facility will incorporate the company’s proprietary insect-rearing production system to manufacture Hi.Protein insectmeal, its flagship product, as an economical and scalable alternative to competing fishmeal products on the market. Nutrition Technologies will also dedicate a significant portion of the funds to continue its cutting-edge black soldier fly genetics and biology research.

“The key to be successful in this sector is being able to produce a consistently high quality product at an affordable price for feed manufacturers without charging a sustainability premium”, said Nick Piggott, co-founder and CEO of Nutrition Technologies. “We have achieved this by developing a unique combination of bio-processing steps, which enables us to optimise the nutrient uptake in our insect larvae. Coupled with the low operating costs in Southeast Asia, and the ideal tropical rearing conditions, we’re in a very strong position”.

“Nutrition Technologies is injecting innovation into an industry that has been around for over 12,000 years. Asia is the breadbasket of the world; over 89% of aquaculture, along with the farming of 33% of chickens and 65% of pigs happen here. We feel that Nutrition Technologies has the perfect combination of climate, technology and partners to fulfil its mission,” said Hian Goh, Partner at Openspace Ventures. “This is also a part of our 'OPENHAND' initiative to follow United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment where we leverage environmental, social and governance factors in the agri-food tech space to transform how we feed the world.”

Ted Tan, chairman of SEEDS Capital and deputy CEO of Enterprise Singapore said: “SEEDS Capital is happy to partner Openspace Ventures in growing a pipeline of innovative agri-food tech startups such as Nutrition Technologies. By innovating the way feed is produced here in Singapore, we are able to enhance food sustainability and safety in the agri-food chain. Such innovative food solutions have high market potential both domestically and across the Asian region. We hope to catalyse more investments in this area as we develop Singapore into a leading urban agriculture and aquaculture hub in Asia.”

Looking ahead, SEEDS Capital and Enterprise Singapore will continue to work with Nutrition Technologies to connect with industry partners in aquaculture and alternative protein innovation. This will help to further anchor their key activities in Singapore, as well as to support the company’s plans to expand its manufacturing operations to Southeast Asia over the next two to three years.