Darling Ingredients Inc. announced Jan. 2 that it has acquired the 50% joint venture interest of EnviroFlight LLC owned by Intrexon Corp., thereby increasing its ownership interest in EnviroFlight to 100%. EnviroFlight LLC is a leading developer of proprietary technologies that enable the rearing of non-pathogenic black soldier fly (BSF) larvae in a scalable manner.
Enviroflight opened the first commercial BSF facility in Maysville, Ky., in late 2018. Phase 1 of the production facility currently has the capacity to produce 900 tons of dried BSF larvae on an annual basis.
"Expanding our ownership of EnviroFlight empowers us to accelerate our ability to create higher-value, sustainable specialty proteins for the agriculture and companion animal feed industries," Darling Ingredients chairman and chief executive officer Randall Stuewe said. "Our purpose is to repurpose, and growing insects for specialty feed ingredients yields 10 times the usable protein per acre compared to producing algae and is at least 50 times the protein per acre compared to soy.”
Dr. Liz Koutsos, president of EnviroFlight, said, "EnviroFlight has focused on driving necessary change in the global food supply chain to meet the demands of a growing population, and we look forward to working more closely with Darling Ingredients to realize the considerable promise of insect bioconversion to offer solutions that meet this goal.”
EnviroFlight's insect-based approach offers substantial promise to recover abundant food surpluses with significantly improved protein yield potential compared to traditional protein sources, given their proficiency at converting organic materials into valuable proteins, oils and frass, the announcement said.
Darling Ingredients noted that demand for fish meal and fish oil is expected to outpace the supply for these products for application in the multibillion-dollar aquaculture industry. BSF larvae meal has proved to be an excellent alternative to fish meal, the company added.
EnviroFlight continues to work with regulatory agencies to gain approval to feed these ingredients to food animals and pets in the U.S. EnviroFlight's comprehensive research program has demonstrated the safety, applicability and value of BSF-derived ingredients in the diets of poultry (broilers and laying hens), swine and companion animals. The combination of highly digestible nutrients derived from an environmentally friendly process makes BSF larvae the natural choice to help feed animals, the company noted.
Since late 2014, EnviroFlight has collaborated with Darling Ingredients to refine its scalable production processes for BSF larvae. Darling acquired a 50% ownership interest in EnviroFlight in 2016. With more than 135 years of experience, Darling Ingredients is the foremost reclaimer and processor of inexpensive, bio-sustainable feedstocks, repurposing typically inedible ingredients into usable specialty feed and food solutions. Its operational expertise in this area, combined with EnviroFlight's innovative approach employing BSF larvae, will be leveraged to standardize processes for creating and optimizing BSF-based feed.