Insect Innovation Center coming to Illinois

By Chris Holbein HSUS @ 2024-04-19T18:23 (+1)

French ag-tech firm Innovafeed on Thursday inaugurated its North American Insect Innovation Center (NAIIC) in Decatur, Ill. The pilot plant signifies the company's expansion into North America ahead of commercializing insect protein in the United States. 

The company is breeding black soldier flies, feeding the insects repurposed agricultural by-products from strategic partner ADM. NAIIC is co-located with ADM, and a pipeline connects the Innovafeed plant to ADM’s corn processing wet mill.

The zero-waste process yields insect meal, oil and soil amendment, which will be marketed under the Hilucia brand. Innovafeed's insect meal is already being used as an ingredient in the North American pet food market, while its oil will be part of poultry and swine food.

“We chose Decatur for our first U.S. operation because of its proximity to our partner ADM and other agribusiness leaders," Innovafeed CEO Clément Ray said in a news release. "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.”

As part of their partnership, ADM has invested in a comprehensive University of Illinois R&D study, with results about the product's nutritional and health benefits to be released later this year. The companies remain committed to exploring additional animal and human food uses of the product.

Innovafeed currently operates two industrial plants in northern France.