Maple Leaf Foods, a leading poultry and pork processor in Canada, is investing in the insect protein sector.
The company is providing Series A funding to Entomo Farms, North America’s largest farm that raises insects for human consumption.
Entomo Farms, according to a press release, was founded in Norwood, Ontario, in 2014 by brothers Jarrod Darren and Ryan Goldin. The company has grown to 60,000 square feet of production space. It currently supplies its insect protein ingredients to dozens of food companies around the world that seek to meet consumer demand for alternative proteins and more diversity in their diets.
Companies supplied by Entomo Farms are incorporating cricket and mealworm ingredients into a wide variety of foods such as protein bars, smoothies, chips, crackers, pasta and pasta sauce, baking mixes, hot dogs, and pet treats.
“Our minority venture investment in Entomo is consistent with our vision to be the most sustainable protein company on earth,” stated Michael McCain, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods. “Entomo Farms and Maple Leaf’s products will be separate, but we are excited to help foster their continued leadership in insect protein and aspiration to become the largest insect protein supplier in the world. We see a long-term role in this form of sustainable protein delivery, both for animal and human consumption, as it is elsewhere in the world.”
Entomo Farms is excited to have the support from a large agribusiness company with similar visions.
“From our first meeting with Maple Leaf Foods, we were impressed with their commitment to environmental sustainability, their expertise with scale farming, and their track record in marketing to consumers. These funds will allow us to expand production to meet increasing demand while Maple Leaf’s knowledge will help us continue to meet the needs of large food producers as we grow,” said Jarrod Goldin, president of Entomo Farms.
Other recent Maple Leaf Foods ventures
The Entomo Farms investment is Maple Leaf Foods’ first venture in the insect protein sector, but the company has been actively diversifying from its traditional meat and poultry product base.
In 2017, Maple Leaf Foods entered the plant-based protein sector with the acquisition of Lightlife Foods, which was finalized in March. Later that year, Maple Leaf Foods announced that it would acquire another plant-based protein company, Field Roast Grain Meat Co. The Field Roast transaction closed in January 2018.