The french insect protein producer Agronutris has announced plans to build two new factories for insect protei in northeastern France. Therefore the company wants to invest €100 million (US$116 million).

Mehdi Barra, chief executive and co-founder of Agronutris, explained that the first new plant, that shall work about 70,000 tons of raw material per year, will launch by the end of 2022, the second one about two years later

The company stocks its production to a small European pet food industry player, but aims to reach a leading position in Europe.

“This investment will be financed with our own funds and also debt [due] to our investors, as well as with subsidies acquired from the French authorities,” Barra said. “Our main product for the pet food industry is our insect meal, but we’re also working to offer insect fats. To open the first factory, we will employ 60 persons, and the second plant will generate between 100 and 120 new jobs.”

Agronutris says its product is 100% bio-sourced, and it is the result of 10 years of research and development work by the company’s team.

According to Barra the company runs several tests in cooperation with prospective to “make sure these products fit their expectations”. The CEO explained that the European market needs a big insect protein producer so that the pet food producers can be rely on a safe source of supply.

“Insect protein is a great opportunity for pet food producers for several reasons,” Barra explained. “There will be a shortage of animal protein in the coming years, and a rising number of producers are working on reducing the environmental impact of their formulas by looking for sustainable protein like ours.“

“Our insect-based products ensure a 60% protein concentration,” he added. “Compared with other animal protein, we use less water and energy. Another growth driver is the increasing premiumization of pet food products.”

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