Protein factory: signpost of food transition

Protein factory: signpost of food transition

A new plant that produces proteins from different crops. This is unique in the world, and the Northern Netherlands is building one. A culmination of innovation it is, which can serve as an international example. The much-needed food transition we have ahead of us must be harnessed in all corners of the world. During a webinar, business developer Joep de Vries will demonstrate the challenges and opportunities this presents.

The fact that such a pilot factory is being created here is logical. The northern Netherlands has the agricultural area, the food industry, nature, knowledge and the consumer market. Experiments can be conducted here in a closed chain. Farmers supply protein-rich crops, industry processes semi-finished products, nature is monitored, science demonstrates health benefits, consumers make their choices. All in three provinces.

Right here, in the northern Netherlands

Not because we can, but because we have to. The way we have set up our diets in recent decades are finite. We see that our health is suffering, nature and the climate. Continuing on the same path, is simply not possible. We need to eat less meat, and therefore need more plant proteins.

But which ones? At the University Medical Center Groningen, knowledge about the role nutrition plays on health is increasing rapidly. That science translates into specific crops that do well in the Northern Netherlands soil. We have amply demonstrated in recent decades that we are good at upgrading crops.

The final step is getting consumers on board. They will have to abandon a specific eating pattern, which is extremely complicated. But behavioral change is something about which the university and colleges in the Northern Netherlands are gaining more and more knowledge. Thanks to LifeLines, the unique biobank in the Northern Netherlands, we keep track of whether behavioral change succeeds and what the results are.

More than health

That our learned diet leads to obesity and more and more lifestyle-related diseases is an important reason to do something about it. There are more. The way we have been farming over the past century is proving to be not good for the land and nature. The soil is getting depleted, the whole thing is out of balance. We need to look at crops and farming methods that benefit the richness of the soil, flora and fauna.

Global warming is also forcing us to reduce meat consumption. Its footprint is just too big. Plant-based products proteins as an alternative are the solution. Firmly committed to this transition means setting an example. With the knowledge gained, we can help the rest of the world.

For the agricultural sector, that means whole new business models, where the old ones are slowly but surely dying out anyway. To innovate is to seize opportunities. That also applies to the food industry. It must join the transition. Processing food sources must make way for processing them. In the interest of health and the planet. The Northern Netherlands can lead the way and thereby create unique business opportunities.

Only together

Such a major transition will succeed only if many parties join hands. Governments, the agricultural sector, science, industry, consumers: everyone has to participate. And everyone is going to participate. The Northern Netherlands is one big living laboratory. Here we can quickly demonstrate what can and must be done. We can adapt and innovate quickly because all the links in the chain are present in the three Northern provinces. We must innovate, connect and accelerate now and give the Northern Netherlands the opportunity it deserves.

What do you get out of this?

Joep de Vries, business developer at NOM, takes you through the protein transition. During his webinar he explains the challenges and opportunities, what in his eyes is the food of the future. With the protein factory as a visible beacon of the future. The main question is: what can you do yourself and what does it give you?