AgriProtein secures US$105m investment in insect protein sector
05 Jun 2018 --- Waste-to-nutrient business, AgriProtein, has raised US$105 million in funding, marking a new high in investor appetite for the insect protein sector. According to the company, this is the most substantial investment to date.
The record raise by AgriProtein Holdings UK, together with additional local project finance for a series of factory builds in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, puts AgriProtein on track to deliver its ambitious factory roll-out plans.
Jason Drew, AgriProtein Co-Founder and CEO, says: “This is a significant vote of confidence in a growth industry producing a sustainable protein for use in animal diets. It reaffirms our position as the leading up-cycler of waste-to-protein and brings us the financial resources for further global expansion.”
The company, which won acclaim as the BBC Food Chain Global Champion 2017, is building a global business through its circular economy strategy: up-cycling organic waste to tackle the food security and waste disposal challenges posed by the world’s burgeoning population while helping conserve wild-fish stocks in our threatened oceans.
AgriProtein uses black soldier flies and their larvae to convert organic food waste into a high-protein alternative to fishmeal suitable for fish, poultry, pigs and pet food.
Drew adds: “We need to see waste differently – as a resource – particularly food waste. A growing population, scarce water and land resources, and declining natural fish stocks make this more critical than ever.”
Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Drew says: “I think that the insect protein is and will be an increasingly useful contributor that will help plug the ‘Protein Gap’ alongside other technologies such as single-celled bacteria and algae-derived proteins.”
“Mealworms are already being processed for feed – and with hundreds of thousands of insect species to test we have a long way to go as an industry,” he notes.
Drew hopes that more investments will be made in this space: “It is a capital intensive and sustainable solution – and as the industry grows it will need more access to capital.”
AgriProtein has fly farm projects under development across the world to produce its flagship product MagMeal.
The company has expanded its R&D capability, hiring new staff and building chemistry and genetics labs. It has also hired senior staff from engineering and waste management backgrounds to increase its project roll-out capacity.
The company is focusing initially on the aquafeed market, where demand is increasing year on year to satisfy growing consumer appetites for farmed fish.
Worth over US$114 billion in 2017, aquafeed is predicted to grow by a factor of 2.5 in just eight years to nearly USD 290 billion in 2026, according to Reuters/MRC Statistics, March 2018.
Drew also notes: “There is simply not enough marine material left in the oceans to meet fishmeal demand in aquafeed, let alone in feed for poultry, pigs and pets. Along with algae and bacteria, new, disruptive sources of protein like our own are needed to close the feed gap and, in the process, help repair the future of the planet.”
In January 2018, AgriProtein was named a Global Cleantech 100 company for the second year.
By Elizabeth Green
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