USA – Innovafeed recently inaugurated its North American Insect Innovation Center (NAIIC) in Decatur, Illinois, marking a significant step in its industrial expansion into North America.

The event was attended by key stakeholders, including state and local dignitaries, high-ranking company officials, and members of the community and press.

Innovafeed, a global leader in the production of insect ingredients for animal feed, pet food, and plant nutrition, aims to scale up the production and commercialization of insect protein in the United States.

The NAIIC serves as the company’s first pilot plant in North America and is a strategic partnership with ADM, a major agricultural processing company.

Maye Walraven, U.S. general manager at Innovafeed, emphasized the importance of the pilot plant in advancing research and development toward large-scale manufacturing.

The facility, spanning 10,000 square meters, currently employs 10 workers and is expected to pave the way for a scaled-up production facility by 2026, employing up to 300 individuals.

Innovafeed utilizes state-of-the-art indoor farms to breed Hermetia illucens, commonly known as black soldier flies while repurposing agricultural byproducts from ADM in a zero-waste framework. This innovative process yields insect meal, oil, and soil amendment marketed under the brand Hilucia.

Jorge Martinez, president of pet nutrition for ADM, highlighted the growing demand for sustainable protein solutions in the pet food market.

The partnership between ADM and Innovafeed aims to address this demand by offering alternative protein sources to consumers, with exclusive distributorship for the pet food industry in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Chris Cuddy, senior vice president of ADM, emphasized the importance of sustainability and responsible sourcing in meeting consumer demands.

He noted the potential of insect-based ingredients to provide high-quality nutrition with a smaller carbon footprint, citing consumer acceptance of alternative proteins.

Clément Ray, CEO of Innovafeed, underscored the strategic significance of Decatur, Illinois, as a location for the NAIIC. Situated in the heart of the Midwest corn belt and adjacent to ADM’s headquarters, Decatur offers access to abundant agricultural resources and a history of innovation in the agroindustry.

The planned large-scale manufacturing facility in Decatur aims to replicate an industrial symbiosis model pioneered by Innovafeed in France, leveraging ADM’s corn byproducts to produce insect ingredients.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker hailed the expansion as a testament to Illinois’s commitment to innovation and welcomed Innovafeed to the state.

“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 Illinois Governor JB Pritzker.

The company’s accreditation by the Pet Sustainability Coalition and recognition as the Most Innovative Company 2024 further underscore its leadership in the field.

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