Consortium to invest €57M to put country at insect industry forefront

  • Lusa
  • 17 November 2021

The investment plan foresees the organisations taking place providing €19.3 million of the funding.

A consortium of 38 companies, research centres and other entities in Portugal, named Agenda InsectERA, plans to invest €57.4 million “to put Portugal at the forefront of the insect industry,” it was announced on Wednesday.

The initiative, according to a statement, is part of a strategic solution for “increasing food sustainability and nutritional and industrial alternatives.”

Agenda InsectERA expects to be generating €23 million a year by 2025, creating 140 new jobs, by undertaking “the industrialisation, commercialisation and export of innovative insect-based products, with solutions for the food area (animal and human), cosmetics and bioplastics industries, as well as for the bioremediation sector, through the creation of organic waste recovery solutions.”

The consortium “foresees the allocation of 25.6 million euros to R&D and 29.5 million euros in productive investment, also contemplating major amounts for human resources, qualification and internationalisation of the organisations involved and promotion of the results,” the statement continues.

The investment plan foresees the organisations taking place providing €19.3 million of the funding.

“The InsectERA Agenda plans to generate around 140 new jobs and more than 23 million euros in revenues in 2025, the year in which the investments are concluded,” the statement says, adding that the creation of “three new insect production plants, the creation of a chitosan production plant and a logistics centre” are planned.

The planned investments also include construction or adaptation works, acquisition of production equipment, including air-conditioning, processing and biodigestion systems, quality control laboratory equipment, packaging and installation of solar panels.

“With this investment programme it is expected to achieve the industrialisation of at least 43 new insect-based products and services for the market,” it adds.

The statement quotes Daniel Murta, spokesman for Agenda InsectERA and CEO of Ingredient Odissey SA, as describing insects as “a solution that reinforces environmental sustainability in the agri-food sector, bringing more efficiency to the value chain and greater respect for the use of natural resources.

“With the involvement of the entire agri-food sector we will be able to place Portugal at the forefront of this industry, protecting Portuguese know-how and raising national technology to another level,” he said, stressing that “this is a strategic investment, which could become a historical milestone, as it allows Portugal to assert itself in an innovative sector currently dominated by other countries.”

Nuno Soares, Business Development Officer of INOVA+, is quoted as saying that “the continuous support to this mobilising agenda takes advantage” of the entity’s experience “in structuring R&D and innovation projects of high complexity, scale and with structuring effects on the economy.

“The submission of the project within the framework of the RRP [Recovery and Resilience Plan, for post-pandemic funds from the European Union] represents a window of opportunity to invest in new niches and market areas with disruptive potential and approaching European countries that are pioneers in this area,” he concludes.

By 2030, the consortium expects to produce 260,000 tonnes of insect-based products in Europe, including whole edible insects, ingredients made from insects, and products containing insects.

“In the European animal feed sector, the forecast is for a production of 500,000 tonnes in 2030, when until the beginning of 2021 only 10,000 tonnes of insect protein-based feed was produced,” the statement said, pointing to the existence of other options “to exploit the potential of insect production in areas still little explored such as cosmetics and bio-refinery products.”

Agenda InsectERA was set up this year and includes Portugal-based insect manufacturers Ingredient Odissey, Cricket Farming Company Co, Thunder Foods, as well as Auchan Retail Portugal, Mendes Gonçalves, Mesosystem, Nutrifarms, PetMaxi, Savinor, Silvex, Solfarcos and Sorgal. It also includes suppliers of raw materials, technologies and services Agromais, APISB&O Technology, INOVA+, Falcão e Cunha, Figueiredo, Torres, Guerreiro & Assoc, Sense Test, the ENSIIs B2E CoLab, Colab4Food, FeedInov, InnovPlantProtect CoLab, CIIMAR, Egas Moniz, Lisbon’s Nova University, the University of Porto, INEGI, INESC TEC, INIAV, INL, the Beja Polytechnic Institute, Lisbon’s Hihgher Technical Institute, IST-ID, University of Aveiro, Lisbon’s Catholic University, the secor associations Agrotejo, IACA and APBio, and the DGAV, the government Directorate for Food and Veterinary.