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Nutrition Technologies Opens Insect Protein Factory in Malaysia

Glenn Polyn//March 16, 2021//

Nutrition Technologies Opens Insect Protein Factory in Malaysia

Glenn Polyn //March 16, 2021//

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Press release: Nutrition Technologies

Singapore-based agri-food tech company Nutrition Technologies is opening its first industrial-scale insect protein factory in Iskandar Puteri, Johor, Malaysia. Since 2014, Nutrition Technologies have been using black soldier flies (Hermetia illucens) to turn low-grade food waste and organic by-products into proteins and oils as a sustainable alternative to fishmeal, a commonly used ingredient in animal feed. Their new factory was commissioned in December 2020 and is now scaling-up its production.

“When fully operational, our new plant will produce 16,000 tonnes of insect products per year, [12,000 tonnes of insect frass, 3000 tonnes of insect meal and 1000 tonnes of insect oils]. This will divert 80,000 tonnes of waste per year from landfills and save tens of thousands of pelagic fish in the oceans, by providing a substitute for fishmeal,” said co-CEO and co-founder Nick Piggott.

In recent years, the global fishmeal supply has stagnated. This, combined with rising demand for livestock and seafood, has left the animal feed industry facing a significant deficit in high-grade proteins. The insect protein sector has gathered increasing attention over the past few years. The sector has seen investments totaling nearly $1 billion to date. Last year it is estimated that only 10,000 tonnes of insect meal was produced by all companies, across the world. However, this is expected to increase over the coming years as more factories start to come online.

Nutrition Technologies’ new plant is a result of five years of R&D and technology development. Their vertical insect production system is optimised for the tropical conditions in Southeast Asia and uses bespoke automated equipment and Industry 4.0 principles to ensure strict biosafety and high-quality standards. As a zero-waste facility, Nutrition Technologies is aiming for the facility to be carbon negative at full capacity.

“Nutrition Technologies is committed to deliver sustainable products that meet the strict requirements of the animal feed market, as well as being low cost and environmentally friendly,” said co-CEO and co-founder Tom Berry.

Nutrition Technologies products offer a range of positive impacts on animal health and performance. These are tailored to answer the needs of the animal feed industry and support the necessary growth in fish and poultry production to support the world’s growing population.

“Our clients are looking for natural ways to reduce antibiotics, and efficiently promote animal health. The black soldier fly larvae’s unique fatty acid profile and bioactive compounds such as antimicrobial peptides have a key role to play in addressing these issues,” said CTO Martin Zorrilla.

On February 26, Nutrition Technologies closed a recent funding round of $5 million, led by Hera Capital, and supported by existing investors, Openspace Ventures and SEEDS Capital (the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore). This will be used to fund new R&D projects as well as used to prepare the company for entry into new markets in Southeast Asia.

“We are very excited to partner up with Nutrition Technologies to support their growth. Commercial Insect production is one of the most important innovations of the last decade, with the potential to disrupt the animal feed sector and solve multiple issues the world is currently facing.” said Sebastien Guillaud, managing partner of Hera Capital.

“Nutrition Technologies has a great team led by highly committed and capable founders. Despite the COVID-19 challenges they were still able to build their new factory and continue to innovate,” said Hian Goh, founding partner of Openspace Ventures.

“The insect protein industry presents significant potential and opportunities, and also provides a more sustainable alternative to animal feed. We are excited to continue our support for Nutrition Technologies as they embark on their next phase of growth,” said Geoffrey Yeo, general manager of SEEDS Capital. Nutrition Technologies have raised a total of $14 million to date.

Nutrition Technologies is planning to raise its Series B funds in Q3 later this year. This round will be used to increase production capacity tenfold, in order to meet its current pipeline demand. They are looking to expand production in Malaysia whilst also establishing new industrial scale plants in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. As the company will continue to focus on research and development, a R&D centre will be established in Singapore, as an anchor for the company to lead innovation and connect with industry partners and investors.

This expansion will boost Nutrition Technologies’ positive environmental impact, through upcycling more than 500,000 tonnes of waste a year; significantly contributing to improved ocean health and providing more than 600 jobs in low-income areas across the region.

“We are motivated by the positive environmental and social impacts we deliver through our insect protein plants,” said COO Charlie Carter.

“We aim to be a global leader in the insect space. Over the next 10 years we plan to build a large network of insect farms across the region, supplying a new high quality insect meal to support the growth of aquaculture and livestock production in Asia,” said Berry.