France’s InnovaFeed, one of the leading producers of insect-based alternative feed ingredients, has plans to grow its production line to commercial scale, with 2020 set to be “a turning point” for the company, according to Chloe Phan Van Phi, head of InnovaFeed’s value chain.
The novel ingredient supplier entered into a strategic partnership with US feed giant Cargill in July 2019, and is now finalizing a 15,000-metric-ton production plant in the north of France, set to start operations in early 2020, Van Phi said at the 2019 Global Outlook for Aquaculture Leadership (GOAL) conference in Chennai, India.
“From there we can start building five others of similar size,” she added, noting the company had development plans in the US, Europe and China.
“What’s been really important for alternative protein is about volume, and being able to bring significant volume to the market, in addition to demonstrating the quality and performance of the product, which we have,” she told listeners at GOAL 2019’s alternative feed panel.
InnovaFeed converts large volumes of non-invasive black soldier fly into proteins and three starch co-products, which can then be used as a fishmeal alternative in aquaculture feed.
Before scaling up, Van Phi said, new ingredient suppliers need to show that their product is at least the equivalent, if not better, than what they replace. To this end, InnovaFeed has been running trials with insect-fed trout, salmon and shrimp since their founding in 2016.
“What we demonstrated is that for salmonids our product is at least as good, but for shrimp we found that using insect protein led to a decrease in FCR [feed conversion ratio], which is amazing,” she said. “We showed that in terms of colour, the colour was deeper, and in terms of texture, it was in favor for insect-fed trout.”
The firm’s insect-fed trout has been commercialized in France since June last year, and Van Phi said they had seen a lot of interest from European retailers eager to present more sustainable products to an ever more environmentally-conscious consumer base.