Temasek Review 2021
Pathways to Sustainability

Producing Sustainable Animal Feed

Producing animal feed such as fishmeal is a resource intensive industry requiring huge amounts of land and water.

However, France-based biotechnology company InnovaFeed believes it can reduce the carbon footprint of the industry with its sustainably produced animal feed made from black soldier flies.

These insects are reared with less inputs such as water and food, compared to the production of other types of animal feed such as fishmeal and copra oil, which is made from coconuts.

Founded in 2016, InnovaFeed has two factories in northern France. One is located in Gouzeaucourt and the other in Nesle, which is the world’s largest insect production site.

The factory in Nesle produces around 15,000 tonnes of black soldier fly protein. The flies are reared in vertical farms, which saves space while increasing production capacity. The farms are kept heated with 100% renewable energy from a biomass power plant.

InnovaFeed feeds fly larvae reared at its factories in northern France with local agricultural co-products recycled from starch factories, namely wheat bran and grain-based stillage, which is the residue produced when alcohol is manufactured from grain. By using renewable energy and recycled materials at its vertical farms, the company estimates that the process of rearing black soldier flies emits 50% to 80% less carbon dioxide compared to the production of alternative animal feed.

 InnovaFeed staff check a tray
InnovaFeed staff check a tray where black soldier fly larvae are bred for use as an alternative protein in animal feed, and other applications

InnovaFeed’s insect protein is a timely and sustainable solution to meeting the growing demand for protein in the aquaculture and agriculture industries.

And it has gone a step further by working with business partners to transform the aquaculture industry with a more sustainable value chain.

Besides insect protein, InnovaFeed also makes insect oil rich in lauric acid, known to improve gut health in livestock and poultry. In 2020, InnovaFeed worked with animal feed formulator and farmer Nealia to launch the world’s first insect-fed chicken value chain. The chickens, fed with InnovaFeed’s insect oil, were observed to be healthier than those fed with soybean oil, which is commonly used in poultry farming.

Insect fed chicken
InnovaFeed launched the world’s first insect-fed chicken which is sold in French supermarket chain Auchan

In recent years, InnovaFeed has developed fertiliser made entirely of insect droppings as a sustainable solution to soil and plant nutrition. About 18kg of carbon dioxide is stored in the soil for every tonne of insect fertiliser spread on lands.

Insect fertiliser
InnovaFeed’s insect fertiliser contains more than 75% organic matter that helps improve soil conditions

Looking ahead, InnovaFeed aims to become the global leader of sustainable ingredients for the feed industry. To achieve this, it plans to open 20 sites worldwide by 2030. Construction for its third production site in Georgia in the US will start in 2022.