Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Innovafeed Expands to US, French Agtech Firm Opens Insect Innovation Center in Illinois

By Pet Age Staff//April 22, 2024//

Innovafeed Expands to US, French Agtech Firm Opens Insect Innovation Center in Illinois

By: Pet Age Staff//April 22, 2024//

Listen to this article

Innovafeed, a global leader in the production of insect ingredients for high-quality animal feed, pet food and plant nutrition, inaugurated its North American Insect Innovation Center (NAIIC) in Decatur, Illinois on the 18th of April. This pilot plant is the first step of the rising French agtech’s industrial expansion to North America and aims to scale up production and commercialization of insect protein in the USA.

Innovafeed breeds Hermetia illucens, also known as black soldier flies, in state-of-the-art indoor farms, while efficiently repurposing agricultural by-products from its strategic partner, ADM, in a pioneering zero-waste framework. This innovative process yields insect meal, oil, and soil amendment, which Innovafeed markets under the brand Hilucia.

The inauguration of NAIIC will be a milestone in Innovafeed’s expansion in North America. The choice of Decatur, Illinois, is not coincidental: located in the heart of the corn belt adjacent to ADM’s North American headquarters and the world’s largest corn mill operations, with hundreds of processing plants across multiple States, the region offers high potential for multiple sites to be deployed in the future. The broader area is also a historical innovation hub for the agro-industry, making it a strategic location for Innovafeed to serve its core markets. Since 2023, the company in partnership with ADM, already has commercialized Hilucia insect ingredients for the pet food market in North America. As part of this effort, ADM has invested in a comprehensive R&D study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with results to be released later this year demonstrating the nutritional and health benefits of its ingredients. Future opportunities with other types of animal feed are also being explored as part of the comprehensive partnership between the two companies.

“We are thrilled to partner with Innovafeed on this exciting project that highlights our commitment to responsible and sustainable sourcing. Our collaboration is a great example of how we are constantly seeking innovative solutions to meet the growing demand for alternative protein sources in animal and pet products. By expanding our value chain and offering collaboration opportunities to leading, innovative partners, we are positioning ADM as the provider of choice for responsible, sustainable materials across the food, beverage, feed, fuel, consumer product and industrial spaces. We are proud to be a part of this job-creating project and look forward to the positive impact it will have on our communities,” said ADM senior vice president and president of ADM’s Carbohydrate Solutions business, Chris Cuddy.

A pipeline will connect the plant to the ADM’s corn processing wet mill, allowing it to directly recover up to 300,000 tons per year of by-products. These by-products will be transformed into high-quality insect ingredients producing up to 60,000 metric tons of animal feed protein derived from Hermetia Illucens. Additionally, it will generate 20,000 metric tons of oils for poultry and swine rations each year, along with 400,000 metric tons of soil amendment. In Decatur, the planned large-scale manufacturing facility will replicate an industrial symbiosis model pioneered by Innovafeed in France. A comprehensive Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is still to be conducted at the NAIIC.

“We chose Decatur for our first U.S. operation because of its location in the heart of the Midwest corn belt and its proximity to our partner ADM and other agribusiness leaders. ADM’s corn by-products are a rich resource that we will leverage to fuel our black soldier fly production. At the same time, this circular process will present a tangible solution to contribute to our Mission and the US Department of Energy’s objectives of decarbonizing the industrial sector,” said Clément Ray, CEO of Innovafeed.

Innovafeed is delighted to welcome the presence of Governor JB Pritzker at our inauguration, which underscores Illinois’s commitment to innovation, sustainability, and its pivotal role in driving both local and global economic impact within the United States.

“Innovative, exciting new approaches to agricultural and environmental challenges are what Illinois is all about, from the invention of the farm silo to global leaders like Innovafeed,” said Governor Pritzker. “This expansion, perfectly situated in Illinois’s rich corn country, demonstrates a commitment to Illinois as a place to grow and continue to innovate, and I’m glad to welcome Innovafeed to Illinois.”

Finally, the plant is proudly part of a local ecosystem of industrial projects in Decatur that are poised to create future-focused jobs and help solidify the region as a catalyst for local economic growth and innovation.

“As the project expands, we believe Innovafeed can benefit from a strongly qualified local workforce, as well as contribute to developing new skills specific to our innovative industry. Furthermore, we envision Decatur as a promising hub for innovation with many opportunities for collaboration between Innovafeed and the neighboring projects that have recently been announced in the area,” sa Midaye Walraven, U.S. general manager for Innovafeed.

Decatur Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe added, “The inauguration of Innovafeed’s first U.S. location is another huge win for Decatur and is a prime example of what innovation and growth looks like in central Illinois. The northeast quadrant of Decatur will look very different in the coming years, and we are excited to see the future of Innovafeed and other synergistic partners in the area.”

Founded in 2016, Innovafeed currently operates two industrial plants in northern France, producing insect protein for animal and pet nutrition. To date, Innovafeed has secured more than $1 billion in commercial contracts for its fly protein products for the aquaculture, pet food and poultry feed markets and has introduced insect ingredients as a viable, affordable, and sustainable source of animal and pet food, which is now recognized and embraced by both agribusiness leaders and environmental stewards alike. By integrating sustainable and innovative solutions, Innovafeed aims to play a pivotal role in mitigating the environmental impact of the animal and pet agribusiness sector.