NORTH AMERICA – Ynsect, a France-based insect protein company, is on a North American charm offensive to woo more North Americans into embracing insect-based foods into their diets.

The company has kickstarted the process by unveiling plans to invest US$106.57 million in building insect ingredient production sites in the United States and in Mexico

Construction will begin by late 2023 and will initially focus on the production of the company’s pet food protein concentrate, which was filed for Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) approval in November 2021.

Ynsect said the new facility, its second in the United States, will produce up to 50,000 tonnes (55,115 tons) of ingredients a year, including frass, oil and protein.

As part of the expansion to the U.S., Ynsect will partner with flour milling company Ardent Mills to explore new food and ingredient opportunities.

No site has been chosen, but given the partnership with Ardent Mills, Ynsect said it is looking to be close to where the milling giant has facilities.

Ardent Mills, North America’s largest milling company, is headquartered in Colorado, but has operations in 21 other states.

Antoine Hubert, Chief executive officer of Ynsect noted that the company has a great potential for growth since mealworm protein, the company’s key raw material is the only one in the world available on the market that can combine not only performance and health but also natural origin and sustainability.

 “Insect protein is more sustainable and will open a new mode of food development that is efficient, nutritious, and capable of positively impacting the food chain at multiple points,” added Antoine.

The Mexico agreement

In Mexico, where insects have been eaten as part of regular diets for centuries, Ynsect  is developing its insect farm in collaboration with Corporativo Kosmos.

The two companies have signed a joint development agreement (JDA) on the project,

marking the continuation of a two-year-long collaboration between the two players.

Speaking on the JDA, Hubert commented: “We are excited to join forces with Corporativo Kosmos. We know their feed will give substance to our projects and their real estate expertise will accelerate our plans and development.

We aim to reinvent the global food system with a focus on sustainability. This is why we choose to establish ourselves locally on all continents, to limit our CO2 emissions across our farming activities.”

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