The European Food Safety Authority recognised mealworms for human consumption in January
Photo as seen on Protifarm’s Facebook page

French insect protein company Ÿnsect has acquired Protifarm, deemed a global leader in mealworm ingredients for human food applications. A Dutch insect protein company Protifarm produces more than 1,000 metric tons of food ingredients annually.

Alexis Angot, Antoine Hubert, Fabrice Berro, and Jean-Gabriel Levon founded Ÿnsect in 2011 to transform insects into premium ingredients rich in protein content and produced sustainably.

From the outset, the company has targeted the pet, aquaculture and agriculture markets, but kept the move to the ingredients derived from insects for human consumption in the pipeline due to the legal framework.

Based in Paris, Ÿnsect is expanding into the market of food ingredients derived from insects as the market entry is not a reality. The European Food Safety Authority recognised mealworms are safe for human consumption this January, allowing companies to submit novel food applications.

Ÿnsect uses pioneering proprietary technology protected globally by several hundred patents to produce molitor and buffalo mealworms in vertical farms.

“Protifarm is a compelling fit for Ÿnsect, perfectly matching our long-term goals and sustainability values,” said Antoine Hubert, co-founder and chief executive. “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.”

In November, Ÿnsect raised $224 million from investors to construct a second insect farm in Amiens, which it claims will be the largest in the world. The 40-metre-tall indoor farm of 40,000 square metre, which is set to open early next year.

Protifarm: Edible insect protein

Photo as seen on Protifarm’s Facebook page

Protifarm is a Dutch insect protein ingredients company and operates a production site in Ermelo, one-hour drive east of Amsterdam. The company created AdalbaPro, the world’s first ingredient line made from insects for the food and beverage industry.

AdalbaPro is made from the Alphitobius diaperinus, better known as the buffalo beetle, a hardy insect with an exceptional nutritional value. As a high-quality animal protein, AdalbaPro contains all essential amino acids as well as essential vitamins and minerals.

Protifarm’s AdalbaPro product line offers solutions for meat replacement and protein fortification to add value and effectiveness to all kinds of formulations. Protifarm said AdalbaPro ingredients are already in several baked goods, sports nutrition, pasta, meat and meat alternatives in the market.

“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,” said Tom Mohrmann, chief executive of Protifarm. “The consolidation of Protifarm with Ÿnsect will expand our scale to meet this demand globally.”

Ÿnsect and Protifarm already share a lot of common ground, from the way they approach science and technology on mealworms to quality and operational excellence. Protifarm brings nearly 40 years of experience in insect breeding and owns 37 patents across 10 categories, bringing the total number of patents owned by Ÿnsect to nearly 300.

With established food customers in Germany, the Netherlands, England, Denmark, and Belgium, Protifarm’s Novel Food application is expected to receive EU approval in the near term, same as Ÿnsect’s.

As Protifarm’s Buffalo mealworm and Ÿnsect’s Molitor mealworm meet complementary needs, the company now offers a platform of interchangeable food and feed ingredients, addressing the demand for different premium applications coming from two types of mealworm.

Date published: 13 April 2021

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