Cargill and French-based InnovaFeed extended their strategic partnership to bring sustainable, novel feed options to additional segments of the animal nutrition industry.

Initially, their three-year-old collaboration focused on fish feed, but the expanded partnership will include more species, starting with the use of oil derived from insects in swine feed. Their partnership has “the potential to benefit more than 20 million pigs’ diets by 2026 and demonstrates the strategic role the insect industry can play in transforming the global food model towards a more sustainable feed industry,” the firms said in a release.

They also noted that insect oil is rich in lauric acid, a fatty acid that helps improve the intestinal health of animals, especially piglets. And insect oil could offer substantial environmental benefits when compared to how some traditional vegetable oils are produced.

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InnovaFeed will produce the insect oil in France and then ship it to Cargill facilities in the U.S.

Alternative protein sources have become more popular as animal feed demand and feed ingredient prices surge. In February, InnovaFeed and Auchan, one of the world’s largest food retailers based in France, announced plans to incorporate “insect-powered” value chains for pork, building on success with feeding trout and chicken. Last fall, ADM and InnovaFeed announced plans to collaborate on the world’s largest insect protein production site in Decatur, Ill., co-located with ADM’s corn processing complex.

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