A leading insect food developer has sealed $37m of funding following a European Commission ruling

Oliver Gill
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Insect feed developer Ynsect isn't counting out a foray into the human nutrition market (Source: Getty)

How many insects could you buy for $37m (£24m)? Nope, this isn't the first line to a joke, it's the amount an innovative start-up has managed to raise after bugging investors for capital.

In midst of the Brexit vote and Donald Trump winning the US presidential election, you'd be forgiven for having missed some big news for the world's insects.

Yesterday evening the European Commission gave the green light from 1 July 2017 for farmers to start using insects as feed on fish farms.

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The news meant Ynsect, a developer of insect-based food, could sign the paperwork on a $15.2m round of funding provided by two private equity firms. The funding from London-based – and rather virtuously titled – Future Positive Capital together with Bpifrance Ecotechnologies takes the total raised by the Ynsect to $37m over the last few years.

The logic behind using insects as feed for animals is to reduce the burden of producing the grub for the very animals and fish that humans eat.

“Few people today are aware of how the animals they eat have been fed,” said Ynsect chief exec Antoine Hubert. “Fish meal is derived from catches of small fish, the global supply of which is under duress due to overfishing. In turn, that’s causing severe depletion of ocean biodiversity, and leading to food safety concerns due to the high content of heavy metals which bio-accumulate within dwindling fish stocks.”

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Although yesterday's legislation will limit production of insect-based feed to fish, Ynsect have their hopes set on delivering feed for farmed animals more generally.

In the longer term, the firm believes there is potential for developing insect feed for human nutrition markets too.

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