Agronutris, a French biotech company specialising in breeding and processing insects into proteins for food, brought together more than 200 people, including Nicolas Dufourcq, CEO of Bpifrance, on Thursday 19 October 2023, to inaugurate its first industrial production unit located in the Ardennes. Its main institutional, financial and industrial partners were on hand to celebrate this major milestone, which confirms the success of the company’s industrial scale.
In October 2021, Agronutris had raised €100 million to industrialize its innovative model for sustainable insect-based proteins, half of which is in the form of equity capital, notably from the SPI fund managed on behalf of the French government by Bpifrance and the impact fund Mirova (a subsidiary of Natixis Investment Managers).
Two years later, its first 16,000 m2 plant is already up and running, thanks to strong partnerships with companies such as Pingat for the construction of the building, Bühler for the process and Engie Solutions for the utilities. The arrival of its first insects, by the end of 2022, has enabled a gradual ramp-up, guaranteeing the quality and consistency of its finished products. The first commercial contracts were signed in the spring with Biomar, the international leader in sustainable feed for farmed fish.
With 60 direct jobs to be created by the end of the year, Agronutris is playing its part in France’s reindustrialization. And that’s just the beginning! The company is planning to build a second plant next to the first, creating one of the world’s largest industrial sites dedicated to insects, creating 200 jobs in the Rethélois area over the next few years.
The inauguration of its plant on Thursday 19 October is an opportunity for Agronutris to highlight all its partners, without whom this adventure would not be possible.
“We would like to thank all those who have believed in us from the outset: our financial backers, including Bpifrance, Mirova, our banking and institutional partners, particularly through the France Relance plan, as well as the local authorities, including Rethel town hall, the Communauté de communes des Pays Rethélois and the Région Grand Est. We are proud to be celebrating new stage in our project to invent a healthy, sustainable solution for the food of tomorrow” – Mehdi Berrada and Cédric Auriol, co-founders of Agronutris.
“The inauguration of this first plant marks an important turning point in the history of Agronutris. We’re proud to have been able to support the company through the various stages of its development, and to have contributed to establishing solid R&D and cutting-edge expertise, essential foundations for a high-quality industrial project. This long-term support from Bpifrance, through a continuum of support consistent with the different phases of the company’s development, is a perfect illustration of our desire to reindustrialize France by supporting breakthrough innovations that meet the major challenges of tomorrow, such as food sovereignty and environmental transition” – Nicolas Dufourcq, CEO of Bpifrance.