France-based insect protein company Innovafeed, which announced a $250 million (€251 million) investment this week, sees the land-based aquaculture industry as a key market for its feed ingredients.

The investment will partly back Innovafeed’s entry and subsequent growth across the US market.

“The US is an important market for Innovafeed partly as we see strong growth prospects for the land-based sector in the country,” Innovafeed CEO and co-founder Clement Ray told IntraFish.

Innovafeed is already seeing positive results in using insect feed in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), and the two industries are well fitted to work together, Ray said.

“Both insect feed and land-based systems can offer consumers a healthy, nutritious product mix with a low-carbon footprint compared to other food and feed combinations,” Ray said.

The recent investment will allow Innovafeed to reach full capacity at its French site in 2024. The company aims to reach 100,000 metric tons of ingredients, of which 15,000 metric tons is for the aquaculture sector. The company focuses on shrimp and salmon feed.

The company has €1 billion ($1 billion) in contracted revenue and expects to break even after its launch in the US, Ray said.

The group declined to disclose its current operational revenue, but said revenues have grown four-fold since last year.

Investors in the recent D round included the Qatar Investment Authority, Future French Champions, existing investors Creadev and Temasek as well as US-based feed giant Cargill and US-based Archer Daniels Midland.

It is the first time Cargill and ADM have invested in any project of this kind together, Ray said.

The new strategic minority investors were partly attracted to Innovafeed's low-carbon footprint, Ray said.

Innovafeed has developed a system whereby its circular and zero waste approach gives it about 80 percent lower carbon footprint than some of its competitors, Ray said.

The investors were also keen on the company's technology platform and patented high-performance product, he added.

The new round of financing brings Innovafeed's total cumulative financing to $450 million (€452 million), according to the company.

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