CHICAGO and PARIS — On Nov. 19, ADM and InnovaFeed, a premium insect ingredient supplier to the animal food industry, announced a partnership resulting in the construction and operation of the world’s largest insect protein processing plant in Decatur, Ill.

InnovaFeed will own and operate the facility, which will be co-located with ADM’s existing corn processing complex in Decatur. That complex will supply feedstocks, waste heat and other resources for the new insect processing plant.

“We are very pleased to launch this ambitious project, working alongside ADM and Illinois state partners as InnovaFeed expands to provide sustainable solutions to meet the fast growing demand for insect feed in the United States and worldwide,” said Clement Ray, chief executive officer and co-founder of InnovaFeed. “Around the world, InnovaFeed is contributing to the emergence of sustainable food systems by developing a pioneering and sustainable industry. Our new operations in Illinois, a global leader and destination for agriculture, will allow us to take the next steps to innovate and grow our business.”

Once approved, construction of the facility will start in 2021. When finished, the plant will have an estimated annual production capacity of 60,000 tonnes of animal feed proteins produced from Hermetia Illucens larvae, a species of black soldier fly with superior nutritional qualities, ADM shared.

Additionally, the plant will produce a projected 20,000 tonnes of oils for poultry and swine feed, as well as 400,000 tonnes of fertilizer per year.

As the global food industry looks to alternative proteins to sustain a growing population with a more sustainable food supply, insect protein has answered the call. According to ADM and InnovaFeed, demand for animal food products has reached an all-time high, necessitating the use of sustainable and ethical proteins to meet this demand. The market for insect protein in animal feed is expected to reach 1 million tons by 2027, they added.

“At a time when the demand for animal feed protein is steadily increasing, insect farming stands out as a true solution for the future,” said Chris Cuddy, ADM senior vice president and president of the company’s Carbohydrate Solutions business. “We’re excited to work with InnovaFeed on this ambitious project, which further expands our participation in the growing market for animal food and feed that comes from responsible, sustainable sources. It’s a great demonstration of how ADM is expanding its value chain by offering opportunities for collaboration to leading, innovative startups. It’s yet another example of how we’re constantly identifying new ways to create value from corn, oilseeds and more. And of course, we’re extremely proud that we can help bring this new, job-creating project to Decatur, the home of our North American headquarters.”

InnovaFeed currently operates two insect processing facilities in France, one of which is the current-largest facility in the world. The Decatur insect processing plant represents the company’s first international venture.

“InnovaFeed’s decision to bring their first ever international facility and state-of-the-art agriculture technology to Illinois is a vote of confidence for our state, and a win for our farming communities,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Illinois has always been a global leader in agriculture and technology, and we offer the resources to support this major international expansion – with an educated workforce, proximity to global businesses like ADM, and access to shipping and logistics. The investments InnovaFeed is making in Decatur will not only support our thriving agriculture industry – a cornerstone of our economy – but will unlock new well-paying jobs for our communities.”

Construction of the high-capacity facility will create more than 280 jobs directly and 400 jobs indirectly in the Decatur region.

The project is supported by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the Illinois workNet Center, which will help with recruiting and on-the-job training.

Other incentives were provided by the Decatur-Macon County Enterprize Zone, the City of Decatur and the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur-Macon County.

The overall design of the facility will aim for the lowest carbon footprint possible. Collaboration with ADM’s corn complex is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80%, compared to as if the facility were to operate on its own.

Read more about pet food processing on our Operations page.