Insect ingredients specialist EnviroFlight expands R&D for cosmetic inputs

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (GordZam)
© Getty Images \ (GordZam)

Related tags Insect R&D Protein

Today, EnviroFlight, a subsidiary of the upcycling organic ingredient maker Darling Ingredients, announced plans to break ground on a new R&D facility in North Carolina.

“Research and development is a core focus area for EnviroFlight, with our research team and dedicated engineers focused on all aspects of insect biology and production including genetics, immunology, animal nutrition, and innovative engineering solutions,” ​says Liz Koutsos, President of EnviroFlight, in a press release about the company’s newly announced facility project.

“As part of our growth plan,” ​she says, “we are excited to invest in a new R&D and Corporate Center in Apex, NC, and join the robust Triangle Region AgTech community.”

“This new facility will allow us to continue to develop technology that leverages the potential of this amazing insect and facilitate our growth in the alternative protein industry,” ​adds Koutsos.

Beauty ingredients made from black solder fly larvae are in the works

‘This amazing insect’ that Koutsos refers to is the black soldier fly. An insect that’s often used to accelerate composting or repurpose waste stream materials for use as animal feed.

But the new facility will be focused on “expanding the knowledge base for alternative uses of black soldier fly larvae.” ​And EnviroFlight already sees potential in not only the animal health and animal nutrition industries, but also in cosmetics and personal care, where proteins from plant, animal, and biotech sources are already commonly used as ingredients.

For EnviroFlight there is no shortage of available larvae. The company operates a facility in Kentucky—the only one of its kind—that produces black solder fly larvae (or BSFL as it’s known in the trade) at commercial scale. It’s just a matter of bringing the science, tech, and relevant data up to the level needed by beauty makers.

Darling Ingredients and EnviroFlight are building a lab to better understand the potential of bugs

Construction on the new EnvioFlight R&D and Corporate Center as set to begin this month; and the new facility should be open and operational by early 2022.

The company has chosen Apex, North Carolina, as the site for the Corporate Center and insect research facility in part because, “This area of North Carolina has a strong focus on agriculture technology and agriculture research, and is an ideal location to meet the needs of a growing regenerative agriculture business conducting highly technical research on black soldier flies and their larvae,” ​as the press release explains.

EnvirFlight’s BSFL business aligns nicely with Darling Ingredient’s waste stream and upcycling approach to organic ingredient production. Flies producing larvae for commercial use are fed pre-consumer food manufacturing waste.

And, as the company’s site​ points out, “We have the potential to significantly contribute to efforts that keep food waste out of landfills, reclaiming those nutrients so they can successfully enter into the food chain”​—and the beauty ingredient supply chain too, if R&D at the company’s new facility goes as projected.

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