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Alternative proteins: Supporting nutrition that’s better for pets & the planet

Jorge Martinez Carrillo, President of ADM’s Pet nutrition business

With pets increasingly considered part of the family, this humanisation trend is rapidly expanding around the world. More and more, conscientious consumers demand that their pets eat sustainable, responsibly produced foods like they eat themselves.

This shift is also linked to the rising trend of flexitarianism, in which people aim to add more plants and alternative proteins to their diets, rather than avoiding animal products entirely.

For pet nutrition, this means more consumers are purchasing foods and treats made with soy, corn, wheat and pea. It’s also a growing space for insect proteins, particularly as the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has approved the use of dried black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) for adult dog food and treats in the US market, and BSFL oil is tentatively approved for adult dogs. BSFL use in dog and cat food has already been approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

An absolute necessity

ADM helps petfood manufacturers respond to the growing need for alternative proteins through strategic partnerships that are unlocking the potential of novel, high-quality and sustainable solutions.

ADM Ventures, its corporate venture capital arm, is investing in category-leading startups like Innovafeed that are at the forefront of low-carbon pet food innovation. This investment supports accelerated deployment of Innovafeed’s circular production technology in the United States.

“At a time when conservation of our natural resources and the preservation of our environment are becoming an absolute necessity, we are convinced that the insect industry is a solution for our planet’s food production needs,” comments Clément Ray, CEO of Innovafeed.

“Our partnership with ADM underscores the role of Innovafeed’s cutting-edge technology and the insect industry’s ability to transform the food system into a more sustainable one.”

Upcycling feed byproducts

Work is underway to implement Innovafeed’s industrial symbiosis model next to ADM’s grain processing plant and headquarters in Illinois, USA. ADM’s facility will provide feedstock for BSFL as well as waste heat and water, which enables Innovafeed to upcycle feed byproducts and recover unused energy to avoid consumption of fossil fuels.

This model has potential to save Innovafeed partners approximately 120 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year, or the annual energy consumption of more than 10 thousand households.

Furthermore, ADM and Innovafeed have entered a strategic partnership to commercialize the use of dried whole black soldier fly larvae as an alternative protein for the North American pet food industry. BSFL oil will also be developed as a novel source of fat for pet nutrition products.

Consumer acceptance is expanding

Innovafeed will leverage ADM expertise in petfood and treat formulation and its partnerships with leading research institutions to commercialise BSFL for the pet industry. A pilot research facility, also located in Decatur, will be constructed to enable joint research and development on dog food formulation, such as palatability studies and protein performance.

“Our pet nutrition experts will collaborate with the Innovafeed team and other research scientists to unlock the benefits of black soldier fly larvae as an alternative protein for pets,” says Jorge Martinez Carrillo, President of ADM’s Pet Nutrition business.

“This research is an important step forward as it will allow the pet food industry to offer science-backed ingredients with demonstrated nutritional benefits while meeting the expectations of today’s discerning pet parents.”

Consumer acceptance is expanding for this new source of protein for pet foods and treats. Over the last few years there’s been more evidence indicating consumers are supportive of insect protein used for pet and animal nutrition.

“Insect-based ingredients provide high-quality nutritional content with a smaller carbon footprint and land requirement than other types of protein,” notes Amy McCarthy, ADM’s Vice President of Pet Nutrition. “Although insect protein is currently a premium ingredient, we look forward to increased supply fueling increased demand among mainstream consumers.”

With this partnership, ADM is building on the pioneering work completed by Innovafeed in Europe by unlocking the potential of BSFL as a novel ingredient for the North American pet food industry.

The company will be among the first petfood ingredient suppliers to offer black soldier fly protein and oil at scale nationwide.

Article contributed by ADM, USA.



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