BERGEN OP ZOOM, NETHERLANDS — Protix opened its 14,000-square-meter insect protein processing plant on June 11 in Bergen op Zoom, Netherlands. It is the first industrial insect protein production plant built by Bühler Insect Technology.

Bühler said it is proud to have supported Protix in reaching this milestone. In order to create a major impact on the sustainability of the global supply of protein, many more plants need to be built across the globe following this pioneering effort.

“Protix has now fully transitioned into a commercially operating company with the new facility as proof of our progress,” said Kees Aarts, founder and chief executive officer of Protix. “We are leading the way here, technically, operationally, and commercially. The new fully automated processing solution provides a major quality increase with consistency improvements. This opening of the new facility therefore marks a major transition, not only for our company, but also for the entire sector, and the markets we are producing for.”

The plant produces protein meal and lipids that are used in the animal nutrition sector to feed pigs, chicken, fish, and domestic animals. The black soldier fly larvae that are bred and processed in this facility are fed carefully selected organic byproducts from local distilleries, food producers, and vegetable collectors.

Andreas Aepli, chief executive officer of Bühler Insect Technology, sees a promising future for the new plant.

“Protix pioneered what many others only talk about – insect production at a truly industrial scale, with world-class quality and safety standards. Congratulations on this momentous achievement. We are proud to have played a major part in this project, and are looking forward to supporting Protix in their ambitious growth plan.”

Protix has ventured into a growth market. An increased focus on sustainability, coupled with the rising costs of proteins, and the potential health and growth benefits of insect-based ingredients for animals are strong drivers for the emerging insect industry. As a result, the sector has reported over $300 million of investments in 2018 alone.

“Protix is the most advanced insect company and has now demonstrated that insect protein is a serious alternative source of proteins for many applications,” said Ian Roberts, chief technology officer of Bühler Group. “With this new plant we have proof that insect protein can be produced on industrial scale. Now we must scale this solution globally to realize a more sustainable protein supply chain.”

Insects are able to recover nutrients from organic residues and bring them back into the food value chain, thereby contributing to a circular economy. Since no fertile land is needed for their production, they are a promising and sustainable new source compared to today’s main alternatives.

The black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia Illucens) Protix has chosen to use, are well suited for growth on large scale. Insects can turn low-grade food waste into body mass quickly and sustainably. They need very little room to grow, making for a far smaller carbon footprint than alternative sources of protein.

For a video of the opening on June 11 with Protix and Bühler's assessments of the future of the insect industry, visit:ühler