PARIS — Ÿnsect, an insect ingredient processor based in France, broke ground at its third production site and what is expected to be the world’s largest vertical farm on May 6. The facility in Amiens, will create 500 jobs in northern France.

The new site, ŸnFarm, will span more than 480,000 square feet, stand 120 feet tall and hold the capacity to produce more than 200,000 metric tons of insect-based ingredients annually. The vertical farm is expected to be completed at the end of 2021.

Roughly one-third of ingredients produced in Amiens will supply pet nutrition and aquaculture feed manufacturers, while the remaining two-third will be used for fertilizer production.

Ÿnsect described Amiens as “in the heart of the leading French and European agricultural region,” strategically placing it near leading wheat and rapeseed farmers, which produce feed for the Molitor beetles from which it produces its ingredients. Local suppliers also include millers, starch producers and bioethanol manufacturers, which are also key resources for ŸnFarm.

The location of ŸnFarm — in close proximity to northern European ports and capitals — is also expected to put the company in a good position for international expansion.

The company has begun recruiting employees for the new Amiens farm and is offerings a minimum wage 35% higher than the French national minimum wage, 10 weeks of paid parental leave and access to employee shareholding.

Ÿnsect is also setting up a school for insect-relations professions in Amiens, where it will host training courses for more than 30 professions available for its employees. This is expected to begin in September.

From left to right: Cédric O, French secretary of state for digital transition and electronic communications; Julien Denormandie French minister of agriculture and food; Antoine Hubert, co-founder, president and chief executive officer of Ÿnsect; and Barbara Pompili, French minister of ecological transition.

Barbara Pompili, the French minister of ecological transition, Julien Denormandie, the French minister of agriculture and food, and Cédric O, the French secretary of state for digital transition and electronic communications, were in attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Ÿnsect recently acquired Protifarm, a Dutch mealworm ingredient processor, in April 2021. The acquisition marked Ÿnsect’s first international expansion into The Netherlands and added Protifarm’s production facility in Ermelo to its growing capacity.

“The evolution of a more sustainable and healthier intake of nutrition is only at its beginning, but the demand for products meeting these standards is set to grow exponentially in the coming years,” stated Tom Mohrmann, chief executive officer of Protifarm. “The consolidation of Protifarm’s leading position in insect-based human premium food ingredients with the leading player in insect-based premium feed and pet food ingredients will expand our scale to meet this demand globally.”

With Ÿnsect’s new farm in Amiens, its existing facilities in Dole, France and Ermelo, the company has raised its total production capacity to 230,000 metric tons per year. Roughly one-third of total production capacity will represent pet food and aquaculture feed ingredients.

The company plans to build its next vertical farm in the United States, contributing to its overarching goal to construct a network of more than 100 vertical farms globally.

According to Ÿnsect, the company owns 300 patents, which represents 40% of the total patents in the insect ingredient market.

The French insect ingredient company also recently committed to several sustainability measures, including a partnership with more than 6,300 regional farmers, reducing absolute emissions, and launching a TerrHa 2040 regenerative agriculture program, in which Ÿnsect will plant nearly 1.8 million trees in the Amiens area to sequester more than 190,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2040.

Find more articles related to pet food and ingredient facilities.