- Insect protein company Ynsect plans to build a large-scale farm in the U.S. Construction will begin by late 2023, the company said.
- As part of the expansion to the U.S., Ynsect will partner with flour milling company Ardent Mills to explore new food and ingredient opportunities.
- Ynsect has two insect ingredient farms in Europe and is building the world’s largest insect farm in France. It first established a presence in the U.S. earlier this year, adding Nebraska mealworm company Jord Producers to its portfolio.
Leaders at Ynsect, the France-based insect protein company, have said there is a market for insect proteins for food in the U.S. And to help find it, the company is expanding and starting operations here. Ynsect said in an email its ingredients produced in the U.S. will first be targeted at the animal food market, but that could be expanded.
Ynsect said the new facility will produce up to 50,000 tonnes (55,115 tons) of ingredients a year, including frass, oil and protein. No site has been chosen, but given the partnership with Ardent Mills, Ynsect said it is looking to be close to where the milling giant has facilities. Ardent Mills, North America’s largest milling company, is headquartered in Colorado, but has operations in 21 other states.
“This exploration marks the start of potential collaborations between two key players within the global food industry,” Antoine Hubert, CEO and co-founder of Ynsect, said in a statement.
Ardent Mills has been busy with acquisitions and getting into new types of ingredients, most recently buying gluten-free producer Firebird Artisan Mills and chickpea producer Hinrichs Trading Company. This is Ardent Mills’ first foray into insect protein.
“We see many synergies with Ynsect — as we both strive to transform the way the world is nourished,” Angie Goldberg, Ardent Mills’ chief growth officer, said in a statement.
This week, Ynsect announced its partnership with Ardent Mills and a similar one in Mexico, building a production facility there and signing a joint development agreement with food and ingredients company Corporativo Kosmos.
In Mexico, where insects have been eaten as part of regular diets for centuries, Ynsect likely will not raise many eyebrows. In the U.S., there’s likely to be much more hesitation.
Still, Ynsect has its sights on human food. Last year, Hubert told British news site i that Ynsect had prototype burgers that were “very similar to plant-based proteins.” The company plans to partner with fast food restaurants in several countries.
Earlier this year, Alain Revah, Ynsect’s chief corporate affairs, said in an interview the move to human food in the U.S. will begin in the protein powder market.
Last May, research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found mealworm protein performed as well as whey protein following a workout. Revah said insect protein has the same amount of protein as a kilogram of beef, but uses 90% less land and 50% fewer resources. It also produces 200 times less greenhouse gas. Other health benefits that come from consuming insect protein, he said, include a 60% reduction in cholesterol.
The sustainability and health benefits could certainly help win consumers over. With the new factory and the partnership with Ardent Mills, Ynsect could also have a relatively easy time getting its ingredients on the market.