Alternative proteins

Alternative proteins represent not only an ideal answer to main global food challenges such as nutrition, health, climate change, biodiversity, sustainability, and food security but also offer a huge potential of development. During this online masterclass, European and Asian SMEs will showcase innovative solutions applied to food industry. From valorisation of food microalgae and legumes, to the potential of insects and mushrooms, how new ingredients are sources of innovation?

Main topic:

- Innovative ingredients for plant-based alternative proteins

More information about the programme and registration.
(Please note: To register and view information, you must first register on the platform. Click on the green button on the right hand side of the page)

About Global FOODture

Global Foodture is a project designed to boost the sustainable transition of the food system worldwide through collaboration and innovation. It develops and implements a joint internationalisation strategy that facilitates access to countries outside Europe for European SMEs. With this approach Global Foodture will help strengthen participants’ capabilities to adapt to food sustainability challenges.

Upcycling Community acceleration session

Fact and knowledge based decision making as pre-condition for a ‘circular design of food’

Upcycling Community partners or on invitation only

In collaboration with the Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, Qing and Amsterdam Data Collective, Foodvalley NL offers the Upcycling Community partners an acceleration session; ‘Fact and knowledge based decision making as pre-condition for a ‘circular design of food’.

The use of data and data modelling for exchange of information about the value of sidestreams and upcycled ingredients and production processes, are an essential condition for developing new value chain relations on more circular food concepts.

Adding processing steps like drying, refining and/or preserving techniques to make agrifood sidesteams suitable and attractive for upcycling towards food, can be associated with more costs, higher carbon and water footprint and a loss of total usable nutrients.

In order to make the right decisions with respect to the valorisation of sidestreams or purchasing of circular ingredients, AI models and scenario studies can help the transition thinking. Data and data modelling can also play a key role in accelerating the testing of upcycled ingredients in a product development phase.

Together with the partners of the Upcycling Community, we debate about the potential value of data and data exchange. The varying business perspectives and interests on the role of data will be the key point for discussion, and will represented by the different type of partners in our Upcycling Community. Are you not a Upcycling Community Partner yet but want to join this session? Please contact Caroline Duivenvoorden, Programme Manager Circular Agrifood.


Preliminary Programme

15.00 – 15.15 CEST Jolijn Zwart- van Kessel and Caroline Duivenvoorden – Foodvalley NL. Introduction on the theme and the next steps connected to the activities within the Upcycling Community of Foodvalley NL.
15.15 – 15.30 CEST Bert Dijkink – Food Technology scientist Wageningen Food & Biobased Research

About the insights generated by the Food in Box project and the Procestimeter tool of the WUR. Focussing on the different trade-off associated with the valorization of side streams. Like type of processing steps and impact on costs, carbon & water footprint and quality of upcycled ingredients. Also more information about a public private partnership on AI based decision support systems for sidesteam valorization will be given.

15.30 – 15.45 CEST Q&A with partners of the Upcycling Community
15.45 – 16.15 CEST Bram de Vrught – Managing Director Qing

Interactive ‘consulting session’ with Bram de Vrught of Qing about the potential value of digitalising food processing operations and collaboration within the value chain.

16.15 – 16.30 CEST Joost Veenkamp – Project Lead Advanced Analytics Amsterdam Data Collective

Inspirational presentation about “privacy enhancing technologies”, of which synthetic data generation and Multi party computation are two examples.

16.30 – 16.45 CEST Q&A with partners of the Upcycling Community
16.45 – 17.00 CEST ‘Walk in’ for interested external participants. Break out sessions per speaker, with statements.

How to move the consumer and the market towards more upcycled food

How to move consumer and market towards more upcycled food

What makes a consumer excited to eat upcycled ingredients? This was the big question during the Foodvalley NL talk show ‘Upcycling to the Consumer’. On Valentine’s Day, Foodvalley NL organised a hybrid event together with our partners of the Upcycling Community and experts from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Innova Market Insights and the Upcycled Food Association. The major issues surrounding consumer and market were not only deepened, but also provided a lot of inspiration for further collaboration and co creation between Upcycling Community Partners!

Impression of the webinar “Upcycling to the Consumer”

Move from a linear based value chain system, to an on circular design-for-food-based system

We need to take a different point of view when we want to move the linear economy towards a circular economy! This was the key message of Rebecca Hesketh of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Her call to action for food manufacturers and retailers was: think of how we can design our food system for nature positive outcomes? Future food should be good for climate, consumer and business, and there are so many opportunities, of which the upcycling of side streams is an important strategy.
Currently 28% of land is used for food that is never eaten. 1.2 billion tonnes of food is wasted each year and there are so many side streams that could become very functional and delicious ingredients for food. We need to produce ‘iconic’ circular food products that will be appealing to consumers.
Together with partners at the table (René Lion- Unilever, Harald Lek – current Magie Creations and ex Marqt, Makro etc. and David Gebhardt-Mencke-Herbafood Ingredients) there was a good discussion about those iconic products, and the importance of taste, healthiness, and environmental friendliness of an upcycled food product, that is newly introduced in the market. The opportunity to use more circular ingredients is there, but more important is that those ingredients add something to the raw materials that are already available.  They found that Upcycling is not the end goal, but an extra add-on.

Find the driving values for consumers to target upcycled food concepts in the market

Tim Roelands and Tara Roberts of Innova Market Insights provided global data about consumer perceptions on upcycled food and current market trends in sustainability. In the development towards more upcycled food concepts, the high awareness of consumers about food waste is a very important motivator to consider the purchasing of circular food concepts. This is at the top of the consumer their worry list. So this could be a valuable driver for Upcycled products.
However, at this moment the consumer may not fully understand the value upcycled food brings for them, so there is still a lot of communication needed inform consumers about the definitions and objectives of upcycled food products. This needs to be on the package and/or in the value proposition of the product, like a product like ‘rescue pops’ does.
The Upcycling Community partners (Linda Oostveen – Innoboost and Jeroen Hugenholtz – NoPalm Ingredients), shared their experiences, and concluded that the ‘upcycled’ factor can be of interest for the consumer, but can also be of minor importance when reaching out to the market or consumer, and be just an add-on you’re positioning as a producer of upcycled ingredients or food concepts. We need to diversify for the different consumer types and their driving values. Like No Palm Ingredients using the No Palm promo rather than the upcycling value proposition in their communication towards businesses. As this is more appealing and well known to the end-consumer.

Make upcycled as a solution for food waste traceable in the market

Angie Crone, interim CEO of the Upcycled Food Association (UFA) in the USA shared facts and figures about the development of the upcycled food market in the USA. In the USA there is a huge development of the market for upcycled food, as it is seen as an important solution for tackling food waste. Major research and investments are done to come up with the Upcycled Certified standard that was developed by the UFA, up-to-now the one and only private certification standard for upcycled food, which is already used on 324 ingredients/products in 2022 compared to 146 in 2021 since the introduction of this certificate.
Having a certification standard helps in making side stream valorisation traceable and measurable all the way up to the consumer. And it helps in marketing the food waste valorisation story, by telling it through a label on the product.
Based on the insights provided by Angie Crone, the partners of the Upcycling Community (Eve Martinet-Bareau – IFF, Sebastiaan Hetterschijt- Bakkersgrondstof and Carlos Cabrera – Greencovery) debated about the potential value and import of the development in the USA for the European/ Asian market. Although the value of upcycled was highly recognized, they also debated about the opportunities to combine upcycled with other environmental claims that are already existing in the market. The value of the private standard was discussed as well.
Emphasizing that especially alignment about the ‘upcycled’ trait and the credibility of a claim on upcycled is of major importance also for new business to business collaborations on upcycled products. In the audience we noticed that it was about a 50-50% score in whether people believe using a certification standard is a way of pushing the market for upcycled food and feed products to a next level. This is worth a further investigation in our Upcycling Community.

Create impact with the Upcycling Community of Foodvalley NL!

There are already many great technologies in place that result in a higher valorisation of agrifood side streams. However, the great challenge and opportunity is to transform current systems into new circular supply chains where circular raw materials find their optimal destinations towards feed or food. For this reason, Foodvalley NL started the Upcycling Community in May 2022. The Upcycling Community is an international committed group of business partners that collaborate on the topic ‘upcycling of food losses’. The community setting creates a safe environment where organizations can share ideas, get inspired on new developments and insights from the market and research. In the current phase of creating a pre-competitive atmosphere within the Upcycling Community, Foodvalley NL focusses in 2023 on three concrete barriers mentioned by our community partners:

  • Upcycling to the consumer
    The question is whether consumers are willing to consume products made of ‘food waste’. Are consumers interested in a traceable private standard? We need to create the right insights and conditions to get circular products on the shelves. The webinar of 14 February 2023 was a starting point for Foodvalley NL to bring together the relevant insights and stakeholders to define what is needed to accelerate the market development for upcycled products. Later in 2023 we will launch of a market and innovation scan that Foodvalley NL will develop in collaboration with her partners, to address the potential of specific side streams and further data and consumer insights about the Business to Consumer market for upcycled ingredients and food concepts.
  • Bridging food innovators
    Food manufacturers are often not ready to invest in product development/ lab research to realise an update for more circular ingredients. They have strict conditions for the availability, price and quality of ingredients, which will put up barriers for the transition to new value chain with more circular ingredients. We need to create the right conditions to make purchasers / product developers of manufacturers replace virgin ingredients. On 23 May 2023 we will follow up on this topic and organize a Community-partner-only PRE-Event of the Food & Agri Next (F&A Next) event in Wageningen about Bridging Food Innovators’.
  • Fact based decision making
    More processing steps, can be associated with more costs, higher carbon and water footprint and a loss of total usable nutrients. In order to make the right decisions with respect to the valorisation of side streams or purchasing of circular ingredients, decisions making modelling can help companies in their development and investment decisions regarding the valorisation of side streams or the purchase of upcycled ingredients. On 11 April 2023 there will be an online community partner-only acceleration session about decision making modelling for the upcycling of side streams of food industry. We organise this in close collaboration with Wageningen University and Qing.


Prize based challenge for market-ready refinery solutions for the upcycling of horticulture side streams

A feasible refinery solution for upcycling horticultural side streams

Supported by the platform of Brave New Food, Foodvalley NL and Stichting Innovatie Glastuinbouw Nederland (SIGN, Foundation for Innovation in Greenhouse Horticulture Netherlands) are working together to support promising business cases in the field of upcycling horticultural side streams. This collaboration between SIGN and Foodvalley NL brings suppliers and potential processors and or users of upcycled horticultural side streams together. This is of major importance to realise new circular agrifood value chains.

SIGN and FoodValley NL are searching for businesses that can turn horticultural side streams into valuable proteins, enzymes, and/or supplements. These businesses will be able to incorporate their solutions into supply chains, providing practical and economically viable solutions to the challenge of horticultural waste.

The Challenge

The challenge aims to showcase the technology in real-world applications and demonstrate the potential for success in this market. We are looking for market-ready refineries for the upcycling of horticultural side streams into valuable protein or equivalent ingredients. Next to a pilot budget of 50.000 euro and exposure at an event of the Upcycling Community, SIGN & Foodvalley boost feasible business with our valuable connections and extensive knowledge. More info and /or participation Can you demonstrate a feasible refinery solution for upcycling horticultural side streams into valuable proteins and/or additional food nutrients? Don’t hesitate to send in your pitch!

The Upcycling Community

The Upcycling Community of Foodvalley NL will be involved in two ways. First, partners in and partners of the Upcycling Community are very much invited to participate in this challenge. Secondly, there will be a F&A Next Pre-Event of the Upcycling Community ‘Bridging circular food innovators’ on 23 May 2023 in Wageningen. During this event, the nominated pitchers will present their solution to the business partners participating in this event, which will create opportunities for further collaboration with upcycling partners in and around our Upcycling Community.  Save the date – 23 May 2023!


Insights Groenboerenplan conferentie 2023

How do we want to see vegetable production and consumption in 2030 and how to get there?

Conclusion: We need to integrate leguminous vegetable protein crops into a regenerative cropping system through valuechain facilitation.

During the Groenboerenplan conferentie 2023, the Transition Coalition Food in collaboration with Jolijn Zwart-van Kessel, Innovation Lead Circular Agrifood Foodvalley NL and Henk Janknegt, Chairman of the producer organisation Protein Farmers of the Netherlands, organised a workshop.

The key question was: How do we want to see vegetable production and consumption in 2030 (if we consume in a 50/50 ratio) and what needs to happen at this moment to get there? This could include activities on the production and consumption side: Who or what is needed? And how? A number of challenges were mentioned from the side of Foodvalley NL and the Protein Farmers and workshop participants debated and came up with several suggestions.


One of the challenges is the fact that Dutch arable farmers are already ready to produce protein crops on Dutch soil for human consumption. However, this cultivation is not scaling up because of a lack of sales above cost price, due to the lack of a level playing field within Europe. For protein crop processors, it is more attractive to buy the raw materials abroad where it is cheaper to obtain. Dutch arable farmers receive no subsidy for growing protein-rich crops in the Netherlands, protein-rich crops are part of the so-called Eco scheme and thus part of the CAP system of income support, while arable farmers in other European countries ‘get’ up to 600 euros subsidy per hectare. There should be a level playing field within Europe to improve local marketing here.

In doing so, the eco-legislation allows for more cultivation, but sales will go towards animal feed. This contributes to less soya dependency, but perhaps only to a limited extent contributes towards the 50% vegetable-50% animal protein human consumption ratio ambition in 2030.

Regenerative system

Furthermore leguminous protein crops are a great crop for arable farmers to set up in a regenerative system. Indeed, important properties of these protein crops are that they bind nitrogen (and therefore no more nitrogen needs to be added in the form of chemical fertilizers) and they provide a nice soil structure. These crops should therefore be included as part of the transition to such a farming system. But how to organise it? In our view, through the transitions in the food value chain.

It was emphasised that chain cooperation from cultivation to supermarket should play a role in making the acceptance of these plant-based local proteins more visible to consumers and in jointly achieving a fair price in the chain. Foodvalley NL is at the table with all chain partners and is also explicitly trying to realise this ambition through the Bean Deal, among others, and will also integrate this into the regenerative agriculture activities that will unfold in 2023.


Global Foodture mission Thailand

From 22 to 26 May 2023, a group of European Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) will be visiting Thailand to establish new relations and potential innovation collaborations in the area of alternative proteins and reduction of food waste. The visit will include the following:  

  • Visit the Thai Union Global Innovation Center 
  • Visit the Thaifex Anuga exhibition 
  • Participate in the Future of Food System conference 
  • Participate in sessions about the Thai food system and innovation ecosystem  
  • Networking with Thai food companies working on innovation 

Programme mission Thailand 

Application and travel voucher

Application for the mission is closed. In October 2023 a new mission will be organised. Please check our website for updates.

The Global Foodture project contributes to a more sustainable food system on a global scale by stimulating international innovation collaboration between European SMEs and Asian partners.  

Foodleap 2.0 is now available

Foodleap 2.0 is now available

Community partners have already had access to an early version of Foodleap. Now we are happy to present you an updated version 2.0 of Foodleap. This time it is available to all of you.

What is Foodleap?

A qualified network is essential for the growth of your business. However, finding quality contacts can be difficult and time consuming. There are many conferences to attend and it can be difficult to find that key partner outside of your own bubble. Social media often overwhelms you with possible contacts, but many are not relevant. You simply do not have the time and resources outside of your work.

Foodvalley has created Foodleap, the online agri-food network, based on decades of building a high-end network and extensive experience working in innovation ecosystems worldwide. Now we can share our network digitally to support your growth.

Find and interact

Foodleap gives you the opportunity to find and interact with interesting partners. By simply entering your needs, Foodleap will present you with available contacts, for example by theme, region, technology or type of actor. The platform is not only a search engine, but also a lively place to ask questions and share ideas. It is a great opportunity to discuss previous findings or to reach out to contacts within the Foodleap network. Your most relevant partners are just a few clicks away.

In short, Foodleap allows you to:

  • Find and chat with stakeholders, including their innovation facilities, based on your needs in an easy and accessible way.
  • Be visible so that others can find you and share your offers.
  • Find interesting events and share your own.
  • Openly share your needs on the message board
  • Find news of others about new funding possibilities, trade missions or grants.


Foodleap is easy to join. All you have to do is register and you are ready to go. It takes about 2 minutes.
Over the next month, we will actively add around 400 actors to the platform. This means that not all actors are accessible at the moment.

Questions? Do not hesitate to email if you need assistance registering or have any other practical questions.  Please contact your Community Manager if you have specific questions about community information and/or contacts that you would like to be facilitated.

Dealmaking in BioeconomyVentures workshop

Dealmaking in BioeconomyVentures workshop

On 22 December 2023 a line-up of Circular Agrifood pitchers connected and got feedback from a number of investors interested in BioeconomyVentures. This workshop was a part of the European BioeconomyVentures project. As ambassador of this project, we help to accelerate matches by organising the ‘Explore & Expand workshops’.

The ecosystem

The bioeconomy entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Netherlands is very promising for:

  • Upcycling/valorising sidestreams
  • Insect protein production
  • Regenerative agriculture.

BioeconomyVentures has a platform in place where bioeconomy ventures and investors can register and meet & match to increase development in circular solutions throughout Europe.

Get in contact

Jolijn Zwart- van Kessel, Innovation Lead Circular Agrifood
According to Anieke Wierenga from Scale Up Practitioners is the biggest challenge building circular businesses in a linear world. Anieke presented the Invest NL research and stated that first insights are that we need to finance differently when it comes to circular and their value is thus not only a financial one but also brings other values that should be included in the financier’s judgement on ROI. This research is not finished yet and will be published next year. So our pitchers could help share their experience and thoughts on this.
In the debate, the most important outcome was that focus in the proposition and showing what the team brings to the table is very important to investors. A great line up with Nature’s Principles, SPG Innovation, RibesTechnologies, Multiphase Dryers, Manti Spectra, Corbiota. Although in different stages of development all startups sense the upcoming market for Circular Agrifood.

Investors Rabobank, OostNL, NLO, Shift Invest will also join the next workshop that will be on 10 May 2023. Want to pitch? Registration and more info about the next Explore and Expand workshop will follow soon.

Blog #5: Meatless Xmas or not?

Blog #5: Meatless Christmas or not?

The holiday season is approaching and for most of us this means family and friends, cheesy Christmas mas movies and long rich dinners. Whilst the typical holiday feast may include tender ham or juicy roast beef, there is an increasing trend towards a meatless Christmas dinner. Well, maybe not so much meatless, though at least less meat. I often get the question whether we eventually will end up in a society with no-meat at all. Clearly no one really knows, it is hugely complex and context dependent, however I can take a best guess at where we are heading.  

Regaining balance includes plant and animals

As the vegetarian/vegan movement continues to gain momentum, there’s growing talk of a potential future in which society no longer consumes meat. Although this has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other negative effects associated with animal agriculture, it’s important to understand that a completely meat-free society is neither a necessity nor the ideal. Some disciplines even find this out of balance. In Biomimicry that studies nature as mentor, measure and model for innovation- animals play an important role in nature’s equilibrium. Experts like Imke de Boer (and many others) signal that only with (a balanced amount of) animal(s) products we can have a balanced system. What we should be aiming for is a lowered meat consumption in society, restoring the balance of plant and animal intake. In some regions of the world this means preventing this disbalance to occur 

Healthy and sustainable like the early days

We have to recognise that meat consumption is deeply embedded in many cultures. This can be seen especially in populations with a primarily agrarian background, where diets featuring animal products are traditional and essential to the society’s well-being. For many people, giving up meat would make them feel like they’re losing an important part of their cultural identity.   

Animals for food and good

Meat is an essential part of a balanced diet for both humans and animals. It’s important for our bodies to get enough of the protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals that are more difficult to obtain from other sources. We also need animals for circularity. They help in efficiently processing of waste streams and grass into high nutritious food. Did you know insects are true ecosystem engineers and that they are full of proteins available for consumption? We also use animal by-products for clothing, cosmetics, food and medical products. Best to assure that nothing goes to waste, creating a truly sustainable system in which all animals deserve to be well treated. We know how to do this; look how we treat our pets😉. In essence, it is going back to a more balanced system. Sounds easy right?

That Christmas dish matters

We all are in the position to make different choices on a daily basis, to get to and keep this balance. That is the bigger picture for Foodvalley NL. We help people with their role, embrace and support frontrunners that inspire and pull forward the mainstream, and assure that the right conditions are set for innovations to fly and change to occur To make the healthy choice the easy choice, to optimally use side streams for food, feed and other purposes and to increase involvement from other sectors and disciplines We all have a role to play. And with that comes responsibility. Start small, experiment with little steps. Why not with your Christmas dish!?

Ok, now, what is the alternative to turkey, you might wonder?

First of all, think of a good theme for your Christmas dinner. What about calling it Dinner with Mother Earth (DME). Give her a chair at your table, as a guide for all the tiny decisions a big Christmas dinner requires. She will guarantee a well-balanced meal and a Christmas toast for good health. On top of that you will be able to sleep well – physically and with peace of mind.

Where to start!?

I love cooking, and this is how I make my Personlised DME. 

  1. Make it a journey full of exploration and discovery: Try ingredients and recipes you’ve never tried before, or better even that bring you back to your holiday destinations. This couple made eating vegan FUN.
  2. Focus on bold flavors and play local seasonal ingredients. Think magic beans.
  3. Build a spectacle mixing colors, shapes, and textures, to create an attractive plate and to set a bold main dish.
Of course, the bigger picture of Christmas is the feast of warmth and togetherness. Let us give Mother Earth a seat at our table and remember and praise everything she brings in our daily lives.  

Have a wonderful holiday season and great year end celebrations!

Marjolein Brasz
CEO Foodvalley

PS If you really want to have a DME, join the Personalised Nutrition Community. This community works on a Healthy Sustainable Food. Mother Earth is table head, our end goal in shaping the future of food. 



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

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
Confidental Infomation