French insect farming startup hatches plan to take on the US backyard chicken market

As an ever-increasing number of Americans spent more time at home during the pandemic, the backyard chicken market saw significant growth. By 2026, the US market is predicted to reach approximately $400 million, according to a recent study by consultancy firm Arthur D. Little.

To take on the growing market, French insect farming startup Ÿnsect is now boosting its presence in the North American mealworm production market. It has acquired Nebraska-based Jord Producers. To continue its expansion into the US market and mark its entry into the backyard chicken feed market.

The startup had earlier announced its entry into the US market in November 2021 when it started supplying protein to Seattle startup Pure Simple True, selling ultra-premium and luxury food for dogs under the Bernie’s brand.

Founded in 2011 in Paris by both scientists and environmental activists, the company processes insects into high-end, high-value ingredients to feed the entire food chain. At its most expensive vertical insect farm in France, Ÿnsect transforms Buffalo and Molitor mealworms into premium, high-value, sustainable ingredients to feed animals, fish, plants and humans.

Backed by celebrity superhero Robert Downey Jr., the insect farming startup had earlier raised $224 million in a Series C round in 2020 and acquired Dutch agtech Protifarm last year.

Ÿnsect plans to provide high-quality products for this market under its own brand. Antoine Hubert, CEO and co-founder, Ÿnsect said: “We’re excited to continue establishing our presence in the US, which is a priority market for Ÿnsect as we expand globally. As an impact company, sustainability and support for the environment are at the top of our agenda.”

Cheryl Powers, CEO, Jord Producers, added: “Having built Jord Producers from scratch over the last four years with co-founders Kris Vrooman and Amber Klassen, becoming experts in raising and distributing live and whole dried larvae to the backyard chicken market, Jord Producers is delighted to join the Ÿnsect family.”

With the incorporation of Jord Producers in Nebraska, Ÿnsect’s production portfolio grows to three vertical farms and one hatchery. The integration of Jord Producers will allow Ÿnsect to significantly increase volumes of mealworm larvae production and will also help pave the way into further entries into the petfood market, with ingredients like protein meal and oil expected to be approved for production in the near future in North America.

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