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Inside Ynsect - the French Revolutionaries aiming to tackle future food challenges.

Posted on Feb 16, 2016 3:41:00 PM

Ynsect_bugsSomething a little bit different today for Bio-Based World News, with one of the most creative solutions to one of the world’s biggest problems – ensuring everyone has enough to eat. The world's population is forecast to rise to nine billion by 2050 and food production projections are struggling to keep pace with this rise. One of the many challenges with this growth is producing enough protein to feed fish and poultry, the animals which are consumed most around the world.

For a pioneering French bio-tech company the solution on both an economic and an ecological level to producing the quantities of feed required to keep pace with increased demands can be found quite literally under our feet – insects. This is the core of Ynsect who see insects as the perfect feed for fish and poultry and have a plan to expand the scale of the breeding of them. And their vision goes beyond just insects providing animal feed and into potentially developing a varied host of bio-based products.

The team at Ynsect think that insects have been unfairly neglected. They are efficient animals, able to grow fast in small places and produce almost no waste. We all understand that a bio-refinery is a facility that converts biomass into a product of a higher value or use. Well, seems that insects do that too. The ‘insect bio-refinery’ (or entorefinery as Ynsect have labelled it) has a tremendous ability to digest very efficiently all kinds of bio-mass with insects reproducing fact, eating a lot and when big enough to be harvested made up of high quality materials, notable proteins, lipids and chitin.

The Ynsect ( @Ynsect ) process starts with the feeding of insects with ‘low value’ organic substances. Although low value does not mean low quality. In our wasteful food production chain, there are plenty of food products that never reach the human kitchen. Perhaps they are a bit misshapen, or a slightly different colour to usual, or maybe are slightly bruised from transit. Either way there is a huge amount of food wasted. Expect not in the eyes of Ynsect, for them this cheap, unused “ugly” food is perfect for feeding insects. After all it’s what they would eat naturally anyway!


Insects are the natural prey of a wide range of animals, such as birds, amphibians, poultry, fish and mammals. Certain species of fish have a diet made up naturally of over 50% insect. Whilst Chickens peck at larvae and insects between two blades of grass. Thanks to Ynsect and the entorefinery, farmed and domestic animals will finally be able to take advantage of this quality natural ingredient in their feed.

Ynsect’s main target market is foodstuffs for fish-farming. This market consumes 3.2 million tonnes of fish meal3 and 0.8 million tonnes of fish oil worldwide each year. Several studies have shown that fish meal may be replaced by protein meal from insects in producing foodstuffs for fish-farming.  Whilst its second market is the luxury pet food market which represents 2.5 million tonnes per year. Ynsect have plans to target the poultry and pig feed and even human food markets.

Finally, with its products such as chitin and its derivatives (chitosan, etc.) in the middle to longer term (5-10 years), Ynsect will be aiming to develop food packaging and bio-composites once scale-up is achieved

We asked Antoine Hubert, ( @Ant1_Hubert ) CEO and co-founder of Ynsect about where the company is heading next; “Ynsect is an innovative company which specialises in breeding insects on a wide scale and converting them into molecules of interest. These molecules, which are mainly proteins and lipids, but also chitin and secondary metabolites meet the needs of animal feed markets (farmed and domestic animals), but also cosmetics and green chemistry and, in the longer term, human nutrition markets. My three associates and I created Ynsect in 2011 because we are sure that insects are one of the vital building blocks for a more sustainable world food system".

In the last two years, 14m has been invested by Venture Capital in Ynsect for industrialization, Research & Development and business expansion. And in December 2015, Ynsect received a €2m grant from the French environment agency, ADEME, to support the development of the demoplant currently being built in Jura in Eastern France so this is certainly a company worth watching over the coming years. 


Guillaume Daoulas, Product Manager at Ynsect will be speaking aboutCreating sustainable products for a greener future’ at Bio-Based Products World in Amsterdam on 24-25th May 2016. Guillaume will be joining leaders from Ikea, BASF, Korres Natural Products, Neste, CHIMEX (L’Oréal), Ecover and many more. Click the banner below for all the details of this landmark new event where brands and retailers learn sustainable strategies and uncover bio-based alternatives.

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Topics: BBWNFeatures

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About the Author

Luke Upton
Luke Upton
Luke is the editor and co-founder of Bio-Based World has edited this site since its launch and previously worked for b2b media companies across industries including energy, advertising and sport. His more