Entobel opens largest insect protein plant in Asia

Insect protein producer Entobel aims to supply the rapidly growing aquaculture industry with sustainable feed ingredients, with construction of its second black soldier fly production plant in Vietnam.
Entobel's insect protein factory in Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Vietnam.
Entobel's insect protein factory in Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Vietnam.Photo: Entobel

Insect protein manufacturer Entobel has opened a new state-of-the-art black soldier fly (BSF) production plant in Vietnam. The largest of its kind in Asia, the facility is also one of the largest insect protein production sites globally with an annual production capacity of 10,000 tonnes.

Located in Vung Tau, Vietnam, the new facility includes 50 levels of vertical rearing and features automation technology using robotics, cutting-edge sensors and data analytics. Constructed in an industry record time of just 12 months, Entobel says its new plant "is currently the world's most CAPEX-efficient BSF production facility".

Aquaculture a key focus for Entobel's insect protein production

Entobel co-founders and co-CEOs Alexandre de Caters and Gaëtan Crielaard said that aquaculture was one of the main target markets for their products.

"Today marks a major milestone in our journey to transform the insect protein landscape and supply sustainable feed ingredients to the rapidly growing aquaculture and pet food industries," they said.

Entobel's end products include insect protein and insect oil, consumed primarily by the aquaculture and livestock industries. The company also produces insect frass which is used as a sustainable base for fertilizer.

Vietnam considered optimal site for scaling up Black Soldier Fly protein production, says Entobel

The Vung Tau facility marks Entobel's second industrial-scale production facility in Vietnam. The company's first commercial plant, based in Dong Nai, has been operational since 2019, and currently also functions as Entobel's R&D centre.

The company says it chose Vietnam for its initial scale-up due to its tropical climate, considered "ideal" for BSF production, its status as one of the world's largest aquaculture hubs, and its access to a stable supply of high-quality feedstock.

Among other feedstock suppliers, Entobel is collaborating with HEINEKEN Vietnam, utilizing by-products "to produce high-quality proteins, oils and organic fertilizer, while simultaneously creating a stable supply of high-quality and traceable feedstock for Entobel," the company said in its announcement.

Entobel plans expansion to Indonesia and Malaysia with Series C funding round in 2024

The company funded the construction of its new plant with a US $33 million Series B funding round raised in 2022, backed by Mekong Capital, Dragon Capital and The International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group.

"The Entobel team has demonstrated capital allocation efficiency and execution excellence through the successful construction of two industrial-scale facilities in the last four years," said Entobel CFO Sandy Singh Sandhu.

"Successful commissioning of the Vung Tau plant, one of the largest globally as measured by insect protein production capacity, has de-risked the operational and technological aspects of the business model, enabling the plant to serve as a blueprint for Entobel's rapid regional expansion," he said.

The company intends to continue expanding in Asia, and is currently preparing to build new facilities in Indonesia and Malaysia. In support of its growth plans, Entobel intends to launch a Series C funding round during the first half of 2024.

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