Foodvalley NL initiative insect products on consumers' menus ready to fly!

Insects will be an important source of responsible, circular, and healthy proteins on the plate of North-West European consumers soon. Although we still see some reluctance, this statement is so convincing to producers of insect products, they want to unite in a shared market initiative. At the workshop, organised by Foodvalley NL on 24 November, several companies and experts met to collaboratively outline a joint initiative.

Connect all relevant stakeholders

Of course, there was discussion about the barriers that still exist for many consumers and foodservices and retail companies. Why bet on insect-based products such as burgers, protein shakes, bread, and pasta? Even though insects are now often still something for enthusiasts, the taste and texture of insect products should not have to stand in the way of insect products being a mainstream choice these days.

Get in contact

Jolijn Zwart- van Kessel, Innovation Lead Circular Agrifood (left)

Caroline Duivenvoorden, Programme Manager, Circular Agrifood (right)

Looking at the potential role of insects in a circular and more sustainable agrifood system, the momentum is there to move from unknown makes unloved, towards a structural addition to the shelf and menu. Foodvalley NL, in its role as an independent party, will drive this initiative and connect all relevant stakeholders needed to make this shift towards a more insect-based product on the plate of consumers reality.

Are you a retailer or food service company and do you have ambitions to be part of this journey? Or are you the gamechanger not to be missed in this transition? Contact Foodvalley NL for more information about the Initiative! More info about  Insects on the plate of the customer

Tuesday 13 December 2022, 09.00 – 10.30 CET| Foodvalley Partners only.

We have a specially selected programme with inspirational pitches and some surprising insights on Protein Shift, Food and Health and Circular Agrifood. The event programme has been composed for and by Foodvalley partners. You will have the opportunity to interact directly with the speakers. See the full programme below.

The event is free of charge for our partners and will take place online. Click on the button to register.


Hosted by Marjolein Brasz, CEO Foodvalley NL

  • Accelerators for innovation!
    Pieter Lorwa, sr. business associate Gwynt
  • Sustainable, innovative and personalized medical food – vital change in patient care
    Aldwin Vriesema, Vice President of Global Sales Dutch Medical Food
  • Data-driven preventive lifestyle coaching
    Tommie Koppens, founder & CEO FitSurance
  • Future sensors & digital twins – what’s in it for me?
    Nicole Koenderink, Researcher Wageningen University & Research
  • Effect of Kori-tofu on the level of cholesterol
    Interview with Kinoshita, CEO Asahimatsu Foods and Tom van Loenhout, Cardiologist Ziekenhuis De Gelderse Vallei

As Ambassador of the BioeconomyVentures project, Foodvalley organises two Expand & Explore Workshops. These are workshops where a number of startups from Foodvalley’s ecosystem are given the opportunity to pitch their innovation in front of investors. The first one will take place at 21 December 2022, 13:00 – 17:30 CET.

The Explore and Expand workshop BioeconomyVentures invites to connect bioeconomy innovators from the circular agrifood innovation field with investors, ideally leading to new investment deals, that participate in the stimulation of the bioeconomy entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Netherlands.
Specific innovators active working on the circular agrifood topics like upcycling/valorising sidestreams, insect protein production, regenerative agriculture are invited to respond to pitch.
Furthermore investors interested in those type of innovations are welcome to sign up to get invited on the programme and/or public.

13.00​ Walk-in & Coffee​
13.30​ Welcome and presentation of the BioeconomyVentures project​
14.00​ Anieke Wierenga-Scale Up Practitioners: Presentation and debate Building circular businesses in a linear world – Invest NL research​
14.45​ Presentation of the invited investors​
15.00​ “Bio break”​
15.30​ Pitching rounds (max 5 pitches)​
16.30​ Wrap up​

Break out session for snacks, coffee, and networking​

17.30​ End​

I would like to register as a pitcher or investor

    * mandatory

    About Anieke Wierenga

    Founding partner ScaleUp Practitioners ‘Innovation and Venture building for Societal Transition’

    Relevant Experience: CEO ScaleUpNation; Director ScaleUpFood; 20 years innovation and product development @ Corbion, Unilever, Schlumberger

    Relevant Education: PhD. Colloid Chemistry. Utrecht; MSc. Advanced Change Methodologies SIOO; Board Programs Erasmus University and ScaleUpNation

    Building circular businesses in a linear world

    The development of Circular ventures plays a pivotal role in the transition to a regenerative economy. Building a venture on circular principles is fundamentally different from linear venture development. Commonly used concepts like customers, value proposition scaling and earning models need to be flipped or redesigned to frame the venture maturity and viability.

    And to complicate things, as long as our economy mainly runs on linear principles, circular ventures will run into financial, regulatory and legal hurdles. In order to survive, many ventures that started with a circular idea will adopt linear business principles in order to survive.

    In our research (in collaboration with InvestNL and Sustainnovate), we are looking for practical methodologies which can be applied to support circular ventures to stay circular, from early stage start-ups to successful commercial businesses. In this session I will share the results of the first phase of that research. I am looking forward to discuss with your how your experience relates to these findings.

    Natural engineering with insects

    Do you ever feel like you are missing something? Just because you see the world at your own eye level. From your own biotope, or bubble. The street you live in, your sports club and, of course, your social media. For me, that is the time to break loose and start zooming. Zooming out and looking holistically is natural in my role at Foodvalley. However, zooming in on the detail teaches me surprising things: natural engineering!

    In this blog I will address our second innovation field: Circular Agrifood. It is about shortening supply lines, more economical use of raw materials and no waste. In short, the fascinating journey of this focus area; to refind the balance in the way we produce and consume our food. And zooming in, insects are an insane source of inspiration to tackle the huge challenge of food waste.

    Circular Agrifood: the power of natural solutions…

    The Netherlands is known for its engineers. And they are renowned for solving that other big issue: global warming and impending rising water. For Circular Agrifood, we also need engineers. But not those from a technical university. We need the practically trained, on and under our soil: the insects.

    So, lets zoom in for a moment. Squat down, through your knees, take a shovel and grab a clod of soil. All bugs… And what are they doing there? They loosen the earth, make corridors, eat leftover material, turn it into fertile food for others. You see it happening before your eyes, fascinating. Upcycling in its purest form!

    Therefore -working in the field of Circular Agrifood- we are also so fascinated by those trillions of little mini engineers. They were here long before we -humans- arrived. They had mined the field, literally and figuratively without producing waste and with short supply lines. We can learn so much from them!

    Insects and practical solutions for healthy sustainable food…

    For us, upcycling is to reuse food waste as much as possible. Not just the food we throw away, but also the waste flows from potato peelings or coffee grounds. Many of these leftovers can still be very well reused for humans and animals. And if that no longer works, we have our own ecosystem engineers: the insects! Because apart from being rich in healthy proteins, they provide healthy soil. Look at this great website from Ask Nature (Biomimicry Institute) and search for insects. Saskia van den Muijsenberg of BiomimicryNL will show some of these amazing wonders of nature for food innovation.

    And of course, they are full of proteins. For more inspiration on developing the insects for the food sector, I would like to refer you to our partners NGN. They are a frontrunner and working as a social enterprise in the Netherlands and African countries. Their goal is to reach an economy that “works for everyone”- one which is circular and environmental conscious, inclusive and free of poverty. Developing Insects farms is an important way of contributing.

    These and other examples are reflected in the insect scan developed from our engagement in Enterprise Singapore. A great example of the core of what we do at Foodvalley: Preparing the groundwork for a major innovation of which we don’t yet know how to apply in our daily meals. Our preliminary work consists of bringing people and knowledge together – cross border and from an independent role. In doing so, we build an infrastructure on which a lot of entrepreneurs, retailers and researchers can move forward: Making new products, finding markets, organising chains more intelligently.



    …And for the way we pave the road for gamechangers

    Thus, at Foodvalley we are a little bit like insects. We are ecosystem engineers as well. We pave the way for gamechangers. Build fertile ground for new initiatives. Establish new connections. The business of details – zooming in- is equally important to framing the bigger picture.

    Zooming in requires attention, time, curiosity, a deep willingness to understand. I often find it hard in my daily work when my calendar dictates my life. That is why I regularly retreat into nature. For a walk, a long weekend, or like this summer in Slovenia. Engage all my senses, make space for detail, for observation, amazement. And then suddenly – I see the bigger picture again in coherence of all details.

    Often simpler, more logical, and more fitting that the frantic attempts we made earlier based on abstract theoretical models. And most importantly, I see the first steps. Is that not strange, just by zooming in!

    Thus, zooming result in first steps, and without a first step there is no journey… What will be your first step to zoom in? I can always recommend a retreat into nature. And then, when you come home refreshed, look in the insect scan at the wonderful world and innovation potential of insects.

    Next time I will be talking about another fascinating journey – the journey of personal nutrition.


    By the way, when you are interested in those little insects…and how they are part of the food transition, check in on the 24th of November, for the workshop at our offices in Wageningen’.



    Bundle ambitions on a transition towards more insects on the plate of the customer

    To provide a worldwide population of ten billion people by 2050 with tasty, affordable, healthy and sustainable food, we need to adopt a circular production and consumption system. Insects are an important resource to valorize wastestreams that cannot easily be converted directly in other ways. Moreover, insects are highly efficient upcyclers compared to other livestock animals and a high value source for proteins. One of the main barriers that producers are still facing to grow the market for insects, is to find a suitable market with a high enough price according to the costs price of the product. Insect products that are developed for human consumption have a great potential to reach the right market conditions. As Foodvalley NL we also spoke to various partners in the supply chain, and they see a great potential for an initiative with various parties in the supply chain who bundle efforts and ambitions to work together on a transition towards more insects on the plate of the customer.

    With this initiative that we start as Foodvalley NL, we work towards new collaborations that result in bringing new products and market concepts from edible insects successfully to the plate of the consumer in the Northwest Europe market. We also partner with various global parties like the Network for Insect Knowledge in the Netherlands en Enterprise Singapore to realise a professional, scalable and safe value chain together.

    Photo header: De Krekerij

    Get in contact

    Jolijn Zwart- van Kessel, Innovation Lead Circular Agrifood (left)

    Caroline Duivenvoorden, Programme Manager Circular Agrifood (right)

    How to get insects on the plate of the consumer in Northwest Europe

    Insects are an important mean to upcycle sidestreams of agrifood industry and even food waste towards a valuable source for food. As Foodvalley NL we want to contribute to the transition towards for circular agrifood systems, and amongst others realise this by stimulating a professional and scaled market for insect based food concepts (e.g. burgers, shakes, protein bars).
    We invite interested parties who are working on the market for edible insects and especially various interested in the foodservice and retail sector.

    Are you interested? Contact Jolijn Zwart- van Kessel, Innovation Lead Circular Agrifood  or Caroline Duivenvoorden, Programme Manager Circular Agrifood.


    Insects as part of the global future of food

    In the newly published Insect Scan, Foodvalley NL and Enterprise Singapore team up to highlight the rapidly occurring innovations in this exciting sector from an Asian and European perspective. The jointly developed Insect Innovation Scan brings together a shared vision on the development and opportunities of the insect sector internationally.

    Click on button to download the Insect Industry Innovation Scan: Europe and Singapore – The role of Insects in the Future of Food and Feed

    First hybrid event of Upcycling Community

    Tuesday 13 september the Upcycling Community of Foodvalley NL had it’s first hybrid event. At the location of the Stadsbrouwerij in Wageningen there were about 20 partners and some guest who wanted to learn more about the Upcycling Community. They started with a networking lunch with local and food made of circular ingredients. There was a lot of energy to collaborate on upcycling of sidestreams.

    Plenary session with a diverse international group

    For the plenary part we also welcomed about 10 online participants, which made it a diverse international group. We were very pleased to have four new partners taking part in the event: Greencovery, NOPalm Ingredients, Meatco and Circular Food Solutions. During the plenary part we introduced three of our technology providers in the Upcycling community:

    They presented their company and their expertise and the technologies they developed to valorize sidestreams of food industry towards circular ingredients. We discussed with the community partners about the role of technology providers and the challenges and opportunities they have to create breakthrough innovations.

    Inspiring discussion with Madhura Rao

    Our guest speaker Madhura Rao – PhD researcher at the Universiteit Maastricht shared insights on her research about barriers and enablers for valorisation of foodlosses and processing byproducts. It brought up an inspiring discussions between our partners about:

    • The potential opportunities for new legislation that stimulates processing of food waste
    • The potential value of private standards for circular products
    • The possibilities to better match supply and demand of upcycled ingredients for food.

    All topics that were touched upon during the event strongly link to the programme that Foodvalley NL is developing for the Upcycling Community partners in 2023. Interested to get introduced to the Upcycling Community? Please contact: Jolijn Zwart- van Kessel or Caroline Duivenvoorden.

    Questions? Get in touch

    Jolijn Zwart- van Kessel, Innovation Lead Circular Agrifood (left)

    Caroline Duivenvoorden, Programme Manager, Circular Agrifood (right)

    Congrats to all listed in the Food100 2022! 

    On August 31, the list Food100 has been published. Foodvalley NL is proud partner, third year in row. Once again featuring 50 up-and-coming talents under 35 and 50 established food changers over 35.

    By connecting generations, the Food100 creates a list of people who together can make an even bigger impact and set an example for many. 

    Foodvalley NL stimulates and guides food changers for their innovations on their challenging journey to sustainable and healthy food for ten billion people worldwide​ in 2050.

    “The nomination as Food Hero is an important recognition of my work. You feel part of a network. People know how to get in contact and the title creates more awareness.” – Eva Koffeman, Food Hero 2021

    And we are happy to see a great number of our partners in de Food100 list:  

    We wish all the nominees a great journey towards the spotlight on November 25th when the Food Heroes will be announced. 


    Food100 is powered by:

    Why using a shared facility can be good for your business?

    Take for example Dutch pilot run facility AlgaePARC. This facility works with SMEs to develop new technologies that can accelerate progress towards a green, circular economy. For the past ten years AlgaePARC located at Wageningen Campus has served as a shared facility of technology development for microalgae production and biorefinery. Two companies – FUMI and Algreen – have so far been founded based on research carried out at AlgaePARC. Three other SMEs are currently using AlgaePARC’s facilities.

    The EU recognises the importance of microalgae in achieving a transition to a green and circular economy, and its REACT-EU programme recently awarded AlgaePARC funding which will enable SMEs to further develop their innovative technologies at this shared facility.

    Maria Barbosa, director AlgaePARC explains: ‘AlgaePARC 2.0 will be able to offer access to new screening systems that can select algae strains more quickly, and the facility will also develop a biorefinery unit capable of isolating functional ingredients as well as biomass. Production and testing capacity will also be expanded at the laboratory, pilot and demonstration levels, and innovative sensors will be introduced to enhance product quality’.

    The funding application process was supported by the Bioprocess Engineering chair group and Shared Facility Finder.

    Sharing facilities, just look at AlgaePARC and the businesses that benefit from its use, is a proven method to make innovation facilities available and cost-effective for both users and facility providers.

    Petra Roubos, Manager of Shared Research Facilities at Wageningen and Research and Lead Shared Facilities at Foodvalley NL says: ‘Demand for these facilities is growing, so AlgaePARC needs to make new investments and increase its capacity to host SMEs and start-ups. Roubos emphasises that these organisations are able to accelerate the roll-out of their innovations due to the additional space to test and develop new technologies for microalgae production, biorefinery and product development’.

    Roubos continues: ‘Investing large sums into the development phase is a high-risk activity and it is difficult for individual businesses to secure that kind of funding, by sharing facilities businesses get support they need’.

    Shared Facility Finder helps businesses and institutes to find the best research equipment, scale up and production, development and testing facilities. When it comes to a new facility Shared Facility Finder advises funding options to help purchase a new facility. Shared Facility Finder is an initiative by Foodvalley NL and Wageningen University and Research. Together we encourage businesses and institutes to use or share facilities.

    Shared Facility Finder for free advice

    We are happy to help you to:

    • find the best facility for your need
    • include your facility in our range of shared facilities
    • explore the funding options and/or find potential partners to jointly invest in new facility?

    Please contact us via or visit Shared Facility Finder.

    Free shared facility advice

    Please contact us via +31 317 48 79 91 or via email:

    It’s all about trust and belief

    Alongside the war in Ukraine, the pandemic, and the strong divisiveness currently in the Netherlands on what is feasible for farmers, governments and consumers,  it is apparent that turbulent times will continue for the next year(s) to come. Access to water, food, and energy are crucial for stable and flourishing societies. Every single day, the importance of all the efforts to ensure a sustainable Food System grow stronger.

    Foodvalley is shifting its focus from facilitating our network to also enabling and empowering the network to accelerate the Food Transition. I often get questions: How can I get involved? What can I do? Well, the answer is not that lineair as it is different for each and every actor and each and every initiative that we develop. Essence is; we all can contribute, depending on the initiative.

    In my first blog I have explained why and how we have redefined ourselves as a transition catalyst, as the Food System must change more rapidly. In my second blog I explained how working in this field has defined me.

    Next, I will talk you through three major topics in our innovation fields: The Healthy Choice, the Easy Choice, Circular Agrifood Chain and Sustainable Protein System. How we, turn global challenges into concrete actions, involving and including our partners, catalysing the Food Transition. And what this means for you, working in this field, on your daily work, and how you can get involved. Spoiler alert: it’s all about trust and believing (that we can and will).

    Starting this week on the trending topic of protein shift, facing two challenges:  towards more plant-based consumption (ambition restoring the balance 50:50 animal:plant) and becoming more protein self-sufficient, i.e. producing proteins locally. I will highlight one intervention, connecting the two, consumption and production. A seemingly small action, with the potential to change the protein game in the Netherlands and in Europe.

    Blair House trade agreement, say what?

    In 1992 the EU government agreed upon acquiring access to the north American market by EU financial institutions, in exchange for giving up the production and trade of protein-rich crops. One day to the next, Dutch (and other European) farmers had no protection and faced an in advance lost challenge to compete with cheap and often less sustainably produced imports from outside the EU.

    Fast forward 30 years:

    In 2022 self-sufficiency of locally produced protein becomes more evident. To be less dependent upon import of soy, often used as feed for livestock, meat and dairy production, we need to paradoxically eat more plant-based. In order to have European Food security, you guessed it, we need to increase the production, processing and human consumption of protein-rich crops.

    That’s more easily said than done. Growers are used to their current rotation schemes and, rightfully, fear uncertainties of yields and a non-level playing field. Processing infrastructure is lacking. We are aware protein-rich crop breeding research in the Netherlands is ready to make a major leap forward, but that requires joint effort. Consumers are unaware of the benefits of locally grown proteins, the food-environment is far from optimal to guide them towards a more plant-based, local and healthy choice.

    How can we best address and solve these challenges?

    By full commitment of all partners, together, along the chain. And that is Foodvalley’s business, bringing parties together on a common agenda and having them partner up for change together. Sharing risks as well as opportunities, or the long run.

    What a difference a bean makes

    Many of you will know the song ‘What a difference a day makes’The melody keeps humming in the back of my head for days now. A song on how one day, 24 little hours, can change the course of a whole life. This in essence is how we want to approach our interventions: aiming high, starting small. I recently was inspired by André Jurrius, a Dutch lupine-farmer, during a gathering of the Green Deal Protein-Rich Crops coalition that Foodvalley coordinated. Holding a single lupin bean in his hand he challenged the attendees: ‘Image why this bean was sown by the farmer, what it has done to the soil, how it attracted bees, how it’s harvested and dried, how it’s converted to a tasty snack, spread or meat analogue and what it takes to be bought and consumed by the lucky consumer.’ Starting from one bean, he covered the whole chain, connecting production and consumption.

    This is how we approached the upcoming Green Deal Protein-Rich Crops. Covering a set of over 40 efforts of, in total, 56 parties working together along the chain, showing trust and belief in each other and the power for change. Joining forces enabling beans to make the difference, for farmers, soils, biodiversity and consumers. The deal will be signed next week, that’s when it all really kicks off.  The attention and focus on this deal already set off some important initiatives, on which I will talk more next week.


    Looking back, as Chairwoman of the Green Deal stirring committee, I recognise one critical success factor working towards the deal: that of trust. We have been given the trust to take the initiative, connect all these parties and really involve them. Actors along the chain trust each other, and I am grateful that this trust is present.

    This is what transition is all about, this is what Foodvalley is all about: Shape the Future Together.

    How can you get involved?

    If you are interested in incorporating more Dutch protein-rich ingredients in your products? Or if you want to stay informed about the latest developments AND be part of the protein-rich transition, you are welcome to become a Foodvalley Partner. Please contact us via e-mail:

    Power to the bean.;)

    Marjolein Brasz

    Scaling up initiatives for upcycling of food

    On 13 September 2022 Foodvalley NL organises a first hybrid event for their Upcycling Community. The event aims to inspire community partners with innovative developments, initiatives and research outcomes related to ‘upcycling food’, presented by knowledgeable speakers.

    Major opportunities

    The Upcycling Community focusses on scaling up the use of residual streams for human consumption to take a big step towards a circular sustainable food system. There are great opportunities for new products that want to apply circular raw materials. But to realise this, knowledge, technology and a transition of current supply chains are needed. Challenges such as product quality, safety, consumer acceptance of circular food concepts and the environmental gain or loss of processing side streams into food grade ingredients need a pre-competitive approach.

    Accelerate upcycling food

    To accelerate the transition of upcycling food, co-creation and rock-solid cooperation are needed. That is why Foodvalley NL is starting an Upcycling Community, to create a safe environment where organisations can develop their ideas together and gain inspiration from each other. With the right support and a mix of cross-sector organisations, we can make a circular impact. Although the Upcycling Community takes a broad view of residual flows from food production, it started with the residual flow brewer’s spent grain. This, due the enormous potential based on the nutritional value, volume and potential areas of application.

    Join our first hybrid Upcycling Community event on 13 September 2022

    During our first hybrid event on Tuesday 13 September in Wageningen, the Upcycling Community will be inspired with technical processing methods to create high value out of coproducts. The Upcycling Community will also explore the market strategy to create scale for circular ingredient and circular food concepts that needs to go along with consumer acceptance. Prior to the plenary meeting, there will be a networking lunch with lots of inspiration for upcycling from food waste to food!

    Does your company want to grow within the upcycling of food? Are you curious what the Upcycling Community can mean for you and would you like to join this event? Please contact Caroline Duivenvoorden, Programme Manager Circular Agrifood, for more information about the Upcycling Community.

    Questions? Get in touch

    Caroline Duivenvoorden
    Programme Manager Circular Agrifood

    What our community says

    “We’re really looking forward to joining this community, building on the how we’ve seen the Protein Community develop since its inception and the opportunities this has identified. As a member of the Champions 12.3 10x20x30 initiative, a global coalition of leaders from governments, businesses and civil society, we’ve committed to halve food waste. However to transform the food system we cannot do this alone – we view partnership as the new leadership and we’re embracing collaboration with others for change – that includes suppliers, retailers, our peers and governments. We hope this community will grow and ultimately help foster collaboration across different areas of the food industry to find ways to upcycle materials at all stages of the food chain.”

    Alistair Smith, Senior R&D Manager at Unilever

    “Because WASTE ME UP is working in the field of valorization with Brew Saved Grains, we would like to share knowledge and experiences with others companies involved in this same topic. We would like to build some projects to improve this subject. We are convinced that it’s important to work together to go quickly and deeper and specially with some partners from others countries”

    Frédéric Maudy, president at WASTE ME UP

    ” Green Cell Technologies mission is to market, sell, distribute and logistically support Disruptors to our clients in all associated industries. Our expectation for this community is to gain exposure to the processers and academia to spread the word as to the benefits of Disruptor Technology so that the consumer can gain from its benefits and the environment can benefit from it. ”

    Roy Henderson, Chief Executive Officer at Green Cell Technologies

    Confidental Infomation