Ÿnsect buys mealworm producer Protifarm

Published on
April 14, 2021

Paris, France-based Ÿnsect has consolidated its position as one of the world’s leaders in insect food and feed development with the purchase of Protifarm.

Based in Ermelo, the Netherlands, Protifarm produces mealworm ingredients for human food applications, while Ÿnsect is a producer of ingredients derived from mealworms for aquafeed, livestock, and pet food. The Protifarm acquisition means Ÿnsect will be able to expand into products for human consumption and accelerate its production schedule, according to co-founder and CEO Antoine Hubert.

"Protifarm is a compelling fit for Ÿnsect, perfectly matching our long-term goals and sustainability values. Acquiring Protifarm is a strategic next step for us, strengthening Ÿnsect's leading position in the global market and allowing us to properly address the human and pet food markets with complementary products," Hubert said in a press release.

As of October 2020, Ÿnsect had raised USD 425 million (EUR 361.2 million), including an investment from movie star Robert Downey Jr.’s FootPrint Coalition. Ÿnsect is now marketing ŸnOil and ŸnMeal, insect-based oils and feed for the aquaculture industry, which have been used in growing shrimp and trout. The company said it is also work on feed that could be used in rearing salmon and sea bass. 

In January 2021, it scored a win when the European Food Safety Authority rated mealworms safe for human consumption. The company now plans to expand into the production of food ingredients derived from insect ingredients for humans, and with Protifarm’s established customer base in five European countries, Ÿnsect said it will be able to address demand for a variety of applications.

Through the Protifarm acquisition, Ÿnsect also gained flexibility in its supply, as the former grows Buffalo mealworms, while Ÿnsect grows Molitor mealworms.

Hubert told Reuters he hopes to hit EUR 500 million (USD 595 million) in revenue by 2026, with the human food market accounting for 5 to 10 percent of that total. Ÿnsect currently operates two production sites and has an additional farm under construction, and with the Protifarm acquisition, the company will have a production capacity of 100,000 MT annually, and Hubert said he hopes to reach 230,000 MT in production in coming years.

Hubert said within the next 15 years,Ÿnsect has plans to build an additional 10 factories, and is looking at expansion into Canada, Mexico, Asia, Africa and South America, according to Reuters.

Protifarm CEO Tom Mohrmann said the acqusition will accelerate the uptake of insect protein globally.

"The evolution of a more sustainable intake of nutrition is only at its beginning, but the demand for products meeting these standards is set to grow exponentially in the coming years,” Mohrmann said. “The consolidation of Protifarm with Ÿnsect will expand our scale to meet this demand globally.”

Photo courtesy of RubenRope/Shutterstock

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