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Best of NAMA 2022

By Jack Ellis,

French insect farming startup InnovaFeed and US agribusiness giant ADM have entered into a strategic partnership agreement which will see the two collaborate on insect protein production.

• The Paris-based startup will supply its black soldier fly protein to ADM's pet foods division in order to create "high-quality nutritional" products with "a significantly lower carbon footprint and land requirement" than conventional livestock protein, they said in a statement.

• The deal builds on an existing relationship which saw InnovaFeed announce the construction of "the world's largest insect farm" next to ADM's corn processing plant in Decatur, Illinois in 2020. The facility will produce 60,000 metric tons of protein and 20,000 tons of oils for pet food and livestock feed, in addition to 400,000 tons of fertilizer, Reuters reports.

On background:
Insect species such as black soldier flies, mealworms, and crickets can produce edible protein far more efficiently than traditional livestock like cattle, pigs, and sheep (and can be used as feedstock for them.)

• The animals are far smaller, allowing insect 'farms' to use much, much less land than, say, a cattle ranch or piggery. They also tend to be resilient in a wider range of environments - meaning they can be farmed in a variety of conditions, including indoors - and can be fed on organic waste, enabling circular systems. They also require much less water.

• Dependent on the species, farmed insects can be used to procure various oils, chemicals, and other industrial materials in addition to protein. Furthermore, the latter can be processed into formats such as powder, providing food manufacturers with added flexibility.

• Much like their (very distant) cousins cattle, chickens, and other traditional livestock, their excreta - frass - can add value through its use as fertilizer.

Why it matters:
The ADM-InnovaFeed partnership looks set to be one of the highest-profile to date in the insect protein space - and among the first involving a major agrifood corporate.

• InnovaFeed previously teamed up with another agribusiness giant, Cargill, on aquaculture and swine feed; as well as ingredients company Barentz and crop inputs firm Hello Nature.

• Its compatriot Ÿnsect, which raises mealworms in tech-enabled facilities, doesn't appear to have struck any high-profile partnerships so far - though late last year it collaborated with "ultra-premium" US pet food brand Pure Simple True to launch its first commercial product.

• In the UK, Better Origin has joined forces with supermarket chain Morrisons to place its black soldier fly "mini-farms" on the latter's egg farms as a sustainable source of chicken feed. The flies will be fed on waste produce from Morrisons' stores.

To view the complete report, click here.

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