Insect meal group Innovafeed, which focuses on making an alternative feed protein ingredient from black soldier flies, is in the process of ramping up its industrial-scale production facility in Nesle, France, Innovafeed CBO Nizar El Alami and Product Manager Alex Diana told IntraFish at the North Atlantic Seafood Forum (NASF) in Bergen, Norway in early March.

The company, which closed a sizeable financing round last year in which it raised $250 million (€251 million) from backers, including feed giant Cargill and the Qatar Investment Authority, aims to produce 15,000 metric tons of protein for the aquaculture sector by the end of 2024, El Alami and Diana said.

This takes into account the production capacity at its plant in Nesle, France

Innovafeed has two operating production facilities in France, with a smaller second facility in Gouzeaucourt, in the northern part of the country. The company has a larger site in the United State as well, established via a partnership with US-based food processing and commodities trading group ADM.

Innovafeed's current production capacity makes it a leading global player in insect meal. Other insect protein companies include France-based Ynsect and Netherlands-based Protix.

The company declined to provide current total production volumes.

Innovafeed's 15,000 metric tons can be put in context to the 100,000 metric tons of insect protein Norway alone will need by 2030 as an alternative in its salmon feed, a figure which was suggested by Norwegian novel feed initiative Ravareloftet.

In 2040, this sum could rise to 150,000 metric tons, according to a presentation by Ravareloftet at NASF.

Demand for insect protein within the aquafeed market notably exceeds supply by a wide margin, according to Rabobank. Global salmonid production annually consumes around 5 million metric tons of feed, using around 500,000 metric tons of fishmeal and around 450,000 metric tons of fish oil.

Shrimp, salmon key for now

Innovafeed works will the largest feed players -- Cargill, Skretting and BioMar -- but does not directly deal with farmers on its projects, El Alami said.

Working with the major feed players is beneficial, partly as the meal needs to be mixed with other feed ingredients before being fed to salmon and shrimp, the executives said.

The company, which also produces ingredients for the pet market and fertilizer sector, does look at all geographies and all species across the aquaculture sector, but salmonid and shrimp productions remain key markets where management see the biggest growth in the coming years.

The company's $250 million (€251 million) financing round was completed in September last year. This round brought Innovafeed's total cumulative financing to $450 million (€452 million).

Management is not planning a new funding round in the short term, El Alami noted.