How everything started: the inauguration of the company took place last September. The photo shows the two owners Samuel (second from left) and Cathy Lopez along with the former French president François Hollande (second from right) and Bernard Combes, mayor of Tulle (on the left).
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Dog food - Ynovea

A natural alternative for pets

Insects are becoming increasingly important in pet food as an environmentally friendly and sustainable source of protein. The French start-up company Ynovea has specialised in this field and believes it holds huge market potential.
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In September, husband and wife team Samuel and Cathy Lopez launched the company together with Bertrand Deslandes in Neves, close to Tulle, in central France. The site of the former building materials company Matinie Matériaux provided the company with a 1 600 m2 production facility in which up to 50 t of finished goods were initially produced every month.
The young entrepreneurs come from the world of agri-food and livestock. Under the Naoty brand they offer a complete range, currently comprising around 40 products, for dogs, cats, cage birds, wild birds, ornamental and pond fish and reptiles. "We sell whole larvae, granulated, degreased flour or not, insect oil and pellets of different sizes including microgranulate," says Cathy Lopez. The products contain no chemical additives, denatured animal flours or animal fats and by-products and are based exclusively on insects, plants and other natural ingredients. This makes Ynovea unique in Europe. The company also differs in this respect from other pet food manufacturers, according to Cathy Lopez, because the food produced by the latter only contains small amounts of insect protein, relying instead on other proteins such as fish meal and animal by-products. The larvae of the black soldier flies used in the manufacture of its pet food products are obtained by Ynovea from eco-responsible farms in France and the Netherlands.

"Most animals eat insects"

Samuel and Cathy Lopez realised how versatile insect protein was a few years ago when they ran an ornamental bird farm with 200 different species in the Dordogne. Then they owned their own insect farm to feed their birds. One thing was soon clear to them: "Whether fish, birds or rodents, most animals consume insects in their natural environment, as do cats and dogs. If you observe them carefully, you will be surprised to find that outside, they hunt and revel in small crawling and flying insects," says Cathy Lopez.
The couple's idea, which was virtually revolutionary at the time, didn't go down well with the banks that they contacted to seek financing for the company. They sold their property in the Dordogne and spent four years living in Romania. There they created their own business concept to launch a company that produces, processes and sells insect-based, 100 per cent natural, ready-to-use food for animals and (in the future) also for humans.
Arriving in France, they set about realising their ambitious plans. The establishment of the new company was a complete…
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