A French business that breeds insects for pet food, fish feed and organic plant fertilizers has announced plans to build what it describes as the "world's biggest insect farm."
Ynsect, which specializes in the farming of yellow mealworm beetles, said Thursday that the facility would be located near Amiens, in the north of France, and have the capacity to produce roughly 20,000 tons of protein per year. The construction on the farm is set to begin in 2019.
The business has raised $125 million to scale up its production, and said that the funding would also help the business to open a new factory in North America.
"Ÿnsect is becoming the world's largest insect producer, whatever the species, thanks to our unique, highly scalable and pioneering technology," Antoine Hubert, Ynsect's CEO and chairman, said in a statement Thursday.
Hubert added that the firm's entire production process, "from feeding to controlling the health and welfare of our insects, and from the sensors used for quality control to harvesting mature insects," was automated.
Looking at the bigger picture with regards to human consumption, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has previously stated that edible insects "contain high quality protein, vitamins and amino acids for humans."
As well as their nutritional value, eating insects has less of an impact on our planet than more conventional sources of protein.
The FAO states that they possess a "high food conversion rate," citing the example of crickets, which require "six times less feed than cattle." On top of this, insects emit less greenhouse gases and can be cultivated on organic waste.