Shankar Krishnamoorthy is taking over as CEO of France-based insect protein company Ynsect, according to the firm. Krishnamoorthy joined Ynsect in 2021 to lead international development and the construction of the world’s largest vertical insect farm in Northern France.
Antoine Hubert, co-founder of Ynsect, will now focus on innovation, science, influence and impact at Ynsect. Previously, Ynsect, which started in 2011 to lower the carbon footprint of food manufacturing as the Earth’s population grows, has been aggressively expanding in the U.S. and parts of the globe in recent years.
As manufacturers and consumers look to sustainable options for food, insect protein has been a major beneficiary. Farmed bugs such as mealworms are viewed as better for the environment because they require less water and land than traditional agricultural crops and they emit less greenhouse gas. According to Grand View Research, the global insect protein market was worth $250 million in 2020 and is expected to increase by a compound annual growth rate of 27.4% from 2021 to 2028.
More than a decade into its existence, the current size and sweeping future ambitions of the insect-protein manufacturer has prompted a change in leadership. Krishnamoorthy joins a company that has research centers in France and the Netherlands and operates production sites in France and the U.S. The company has broader goals for new sites on every continent.
“Ynsect is on the cusp of transitioning from a late-stage startup to a commercially viable company scaling up to meet its strategic objectives”, Hans Wackwitz, a board member at Ynsect, said in a statement. “Shankar has a proven track record as a CEO leading sustained, profitable growth in the competitive and challenging energy sector.”
Ynsect said last year it plans to start building a large-scale farm in the U.S later in 2023. It first established a presence in the U.S. in March of 2022, adding Nebraska mealworm company Jord Producers to its portfolio. In April, Ynsect closed a $175 million funding round to fund its expansion and prioritize higher-value food for pets and humans. Bloomberg estimated the company has raised about $625 million so far.