ADM to Host Giant Insect Farm in Bet on Sustainable Animal Feed

Agricultural trader Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. is getting into the insect business to tap growing demand for alternative and sustainable sources of animal feed.

The company is partnering with InnovaFeed SAS to build an insect protein factory, which it says will be the world’s largest. The plant, located at its corn-processing site in Decatur, Illinois, will produce protein from black soldier fly and will begin construction next year, pending approvals, ADM said Thursday.

Insects are increasingly seen as a viable solution to several sustainability problems. Using a fraction of land and emitting less carbon, they turn food waste into feed and offer an alternative source of protein. In fish farming, they’re starting to displace fishmeal, made from wild-caught fish. Insect feed will help the 118-year-old ADM diversify its product portfolio, which has been moving beyond its traditional agriculture businesses.

The Decatur project “further expands our participation in the growing market for animal food and feed that comes from responsible, sustainable sources,” Chris Cuddy, president of ADM’s carbohydrate-solutions business, said in a statement. “At a time when the demand for animal feed protein is steadily increasing, insect farming stands out as a true solution for the future.”

The facility will be owned and operated by InnovaFeed, said ADM, which will supply feedstocks and other resources for the factory. When completed, it will have an annual capacity to produce 60,000 tons of animal-feed protein, 20,000 tons of oils for poultry and pigs, and 400,000 tons of fertilizer.

Sales of insect protein for animal feed have a potential to reach 1 million tons in 2027, ADM said. Researcher Arcluster expects the global insect market to exceed $4.1 billion in the next five years, from $473.4 million in 2020. It’s attracted record venture capital money this year and other food giants have also entered the space. Cargill Inc. already has a feed supply partnership with InnovaFeed for insect protein produced in France.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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