PARIS — Insect-based protein producer Ÿnsect announced Jan. 24 it has received approval from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) to incorporate its defatted mealworm protein ingredients in dog food products.

According to the company, the authorization marks the first mealworm-based ingredient approved for use in pet food in the United States.

The decision follows a six-month scientific trial of the ingredients in canine nutrition, the results of which solidified Ÿnsect’s mealworm-based proteins’ safety and nutritional efficacy. In addition to the trial, research conducted by Kelly Swanson, Ph.D., professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and his team in the Animal Sciences Laboratory showed Ÿnsect’s defatted mealworm flour derived from Tenebrio molitor was on-par with traditional pet food proteins, such as beef, pork and salmon, in terms of quality.

AAFCO authorization “opens huge prospects” for Ÿnsect, according to the company, and follows its launch of Sprÿng, a B2B2C pet food ingredient brand introduced in May 2023, offering premium insect-based ingredients to pet food and treat manufacturers worldwide.

Ÿnsect is actively addressing sustainability in the pet food industry through its insect-based ingredients, which are raised on agricultural byproducts, use less water and take up less space than traditional protein production, and therefore create a lower environmental footprint.

According to the company, 1 kg of Sprÿng Protein70 flour emits only half the carbon dioxide as 1 kg of lamb or soy flour, and 22-times less than that of beef flour.

“We are very proud to have obtained the very first authorization for the commercialization of mealworm-based ingredients for pet food in the United States,” said Shankar Krishnamoorthy, chief executive officer of Ÿnsect. “It is the recognition of over 10 years of research for the benefit of animal health. This authorization opens the doors to the immense American market just as we are preparing to deliver our first pet food customers from our Amiens farm.”

Read more about product development, ingredients and formulation.