Asian insect protein participant raises US$5m for subsequent stage of development, opens new plant

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“This is the first major insect protein factory in Southeast Asia, growing more than 3 trillion insects at the same time to produce sustainable proteins for the animal feed sector. We operate a zero-waste, environmentally sound facility where all of our insects are fed food waste from factories that is diverted from landfill, ”said Tom Berry, Co-CEO of Nutrition Technologies.

Headquartered in Singapore and based in Malaysia, the company was founded in 2014 by Berry and Nick Piggott, the company’s other co-CEO.

The new plant in Iskandar Puteri, Johor, Malaysia went into operation in December 2020 and is now increasing its production. It is the result of five years of R&D and technology development. The team said its vertical insect production system is optimized for the tropical conditions in Southeast Asia and uses bespoke automated equipment and Industry 4.0 principles to ensure strict biosafety and high quality standards.

BSF larvae © Nutrition Technologies

“When our new plant is fully functional, 16,000 tons of insect products will be produced each year. [12,000 tons of insect frass, 3,000 tons of insect meal and 1,000 tons of insect oils]. This dumps 80,000 tons of waste per year from landfill, ”Piggott said.

The process relies on a combination of specially selected bacteria and black soldier fly (BSF) larvae to recycle nutrients from agricultural and food processing by-products.

Martin Zorrilla, CTO said the fatty acid profile of BSF larvae and bioactive compounds such as antimicrobial peptides play a key role in addressing the challenges of reducing antibiotics in feed.

“We already have customers for almost all of our production capacities, which are spread across several sectors. Aquafeed accounts for the majority of the volume. However, we also sell to some customers for use in poultry feed and pet food,” Berry told the publication.

Raise funds for entering new markets.

Nutrition Technologies closed a $ 5 million financing round last Friday [February 26]Openspace Ventures and SEEDS Capital, the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore, were led by Hera Capital and supported by existing investors.

“Nutrition Technologies has a great team led by dedicated and capable founders. Despite the COVID-19 challenges, they were able to build their new factory and continue to innovate, ”commented Hian Goh, founding partner of Openspace Ventures.

Quality inspection at the Johor plant © Nutrition Technologies

The capital raised will be used to finance new R&D projects and to prepare the company for entering new markets in Southeast Asia. The entrepreneurs plan to build several facilities of similar size in Southeast Asia over the next five years.

The company intends to expand production in Malaysia while building new industrial plants in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. It will also set up a research and development center in Singapore to drive innovation and connect with industrial partners and investors.

The company’s vision is to produce 500,000 tons of sustainable insect meal under the brand name Hi. Protein per year.

Having raised a total of $ 14 million so far, the innovators plan to raise additional funds this year. The company is expected to raise Series B funds in the third quarter. In this round, the production capacity is to be increased tenfold in order to meet the current pipeline requirements.

“We want to be the world leader in the insect sector. Over the next 10 years we plan to build a large network of insect farms in the region that will supply a new high quality insect meal to support the growth of aquaculture and animal production in Asia, ”said Berry.