The Netherlands is an innovative country. The Netherlands is very strong at translating research and development (R&D) into well-functioning products and even industries. Companies in the Netherlands have strong business acumen. The excellent business climate allows businesses to thrive and allows start-ups to expand into scaleups and established corporates. It allows for the successful launching of new ideas to the market. FUMI Ingredients and Rival Foods are two examples that made it from ‘student to start-up’

FUMI Ingredients creates egg ingredients without the chicken. Their egg-replacers are based on natural micro-organisms. Founded in 2015, the company is now collaborating with ABInbev to scale up production to several kilograms a day. Future Protein NL talked with Founder Corjan van den Berg.

“Our technology allows us to valorise residual flows. We are collaborating with ABInbev to turn their residual brewery yeast into an egg alternative. The product works as a binding agent with a high protein content really well. We also foresee a future for plant-based cheese.

The market demand for this product is significantly larger than what we can supply currently, as it is a valuable ingredient in meat analogues or bakery products. Our yeast protein is a great addition to functional protein extracted from sugar beet leaves or potatoes. We are looking to scale up our production to meet the growing demand of several meat analogue producers.”

Rival Foods

Rival Foods is a Wageningen University spin-off offering food companies a unique technology that creates plant-based alternatives of high-quality meat, fish, and poultry whole-muscle products. We met Co-Founder Birgit Dekkers.

What important trends do you observe in the alternative protein sector? 

“Frontrunners such as the Vegetarian Butcher first attracted attention for the category of alternative proteins, with corporates such as Unilever and Nestle now joining the scene. Consumers are increasingly demanding ‘clean label’ and healthy products, which is why acceptance amongst consumers is essential to further advance the sector.”

How would you describe the climate for start-ups and entrepreneurs in the Netherlands? 

“The Netherlands has an excellent business climate with different accelerator programmes for starting companies. Programmes are offered by the EU, Wageningen University & Research, Foodvalley NL, and regional and national government bodies. Subsidies are readily available in the initial stages of starting up. This does, however, become more difficult with EU subsidies for the scale-up phase, as registration is time-consuming. There is also an informal network of experienced entrepreneurs sharing their know-how.”

Future Protein NL magazine

This story was previously published in the Future Protein NL magazine. ‘Future Protein NL’ aims to inspire and inform you about what is going on the Netherlands in the field of alternative proteins. It also is an invitation to get in touch with us and join us in solving the global protein challenge together.

The magazine outlines five main building blocks on which the ecosystem in the Netherlands relies: connectivity, innovation, a strong international company base, brands, and transitions. The system is supported by a strong foundation of education and skilled labour.

The magazine is issued by Larive International to the East Netherlands Development Agency (Oost NL) Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), Dutch Top Sector Agri & Food, Foodvalley NL / The Protein Cluster, Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency and NL Branding.

For more information and to view the full magazine, click here!