Foodvalley Innovation Insights

Save the date | Foodvalley Innovation Insights

The next Innovation Insights event, exclusively for our Foodvalley Partners, will be held on 27 September, 2022 from 9.00 - 10.30. Programme and registration for our Foodvalley partners will follow soon.

Foodvalley Partner event 2022

Save the date | Partner event 3 November 2022

Foodvalley NL would like to invite you to our exclusively Foodvalley Partner event on 3 November 2022 from 16.00 – 19.00 CEST at our office in Wageningen.

The aim of the event is to explore Foodvalley’s network in its full scope, with all our communities and network partners. This day will focus on connection, innovation and match-making. We will also celebrate the fifth anniversary of The Protein Community together with all Foodvalley partners!

Explore and connect with Foodvalley’s network and save the date 3 November 2022 in your agenda. Information about the programme will follow soon.

* Please note: this event is exclusively for Foodvalley Partners. Are you not a partner yet but would you like to join this event? Contact us at:

Listen to the podcast: ‘The global food system has to change.’

Listen to the podcast: ‘The global food system has to change.’

In UK’s well-known Food Matters Live Table Talk 264th podcast episode, Foodvalley NL’s Managing Director Marjolein Brasz explains to host Stefan Gates how food sustainability is becoming an ever more pressing issue.

For years, the Netherlands has had a particularly important role to play in the global food system – but how is that role changing as sustainability becomes an ever more pressing issue? The Dutch food production system has historically been the envy of the world, a small country but a big exporter

That has usually meant some pretty intensive farming practices, but now the Netherlands is becoming a global exporter of sustainable ideas. It’s in no small part down to some of the work being done at Foodvalley, an independent international organisation, working to accelerate the transition to a sustainable food system.

In this episode of the Table Talk podcast, Stefan Gates is joined by Foodvalley Managing Director, Marjolein Brasz. She explains what the organisation does, why it exists, and some of the challenges it hopes to overcome. The crux of it, is that Foodvalley identifies problems in the food system that can only be solved by bringing people together from across different sectors.

The organisation focusses on innovation around sustainability and supports start-ups, corporates, and investors – anyone who falls under its umbrella term “game changers”. But it’s not just about the health of the planet, Foodvalley also wants to transform our diets to be healthier too.

Listen to the full episode to find out more about the projects Foodvalley is supporting, why the Netherlands was the perfect environment for the organisation to flourish in, and how it is trying to overcome what Marjolein says is one the biggest blocks to change – vested interests.

New shared facility for faster and more efficient protein selection: Robolector

New shared facility for faster and more efficient protein selection: the Robolector

There is a high demand for alternative proteins due to the protein transition. The Robolector, a new type of fermenter, enables companies and institutes to accelerate the protein selection more efficient and faster. In cooperation with Foodvalley NL and with a subsidy from the Regio Deal Foodvalley, this equipment was purchased by Wageningen University and Research. The device is located at GINKGO Bioworks in Utrecht in the Netherlands.

This technology can be used to develop proteins from fungi and is available for shared use by other companies and institutions. With Robolector with samples can be taken automatically, even at night, which means an enormous increase in efficiency during research projects. Normally, the process of selecting the best strains takes up to twenty weeks; with the help of the Robolector, we can see more quickly which strain is the best and which process conditions work best’, says Martijn Bekker, researcher at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research.

More possible through shared use

The device is set up at GINKGO Bioworks in Utrecht in the Netherlands. Pascal van Alphen, head of the fermentation research department at GINKGO Bioworks Netherlands explains: ‘To make proteins using fungi, especially for the food industry, GINKGO Bioworks was in dire need of purchasing the Robolector. However, as an organisation we did not have the means to purchase the device on our own. Foodvalley NL and WUR helped us bring together various interested parties. Through shared use of this technology and with financial support from the Regio Deal Foodvalley, the Robolector could be purchased. The aim of this Regio Deal is to stimulate cooperation and activity in the field of sustainability. And so, the various interests came together perfectly.’

Chance of success significantly higher

Martijn Bekker says: ‘This device will enable us to better develop fundamental knowledge, which will allow us to participate at a higher level in academic EU projects. We can also start a process faster for public-private research. So, we will soon have more to offer, also to companies. The process can then be fully outsourced to us. As an example, he mentions the WUR project Plentitude, in which fungal protein is being developed. This can now be quickly optimised with the Robolector.

In research, and therefore also in cooperation with companies, there is always a risk that no results will be achieved. Cornelis Mijnders, who focuses on business development at GINKGO Bioworks, says that the Robolector increases the chances of success. ‘I think that is the most important thing about this purchase. Whether it is used for a customer or for a research project: it is easier to convince that you are going to be successful through the more effective selection process.’

Cooperation and knowledge exchange

All parties involved are open to mutual sharing of knowledge and experience; GINKGO Bioworks, Wageningen University & Research, Foodvalley NL and the Biology Department of Utrecht University (UU). The exchange of knowledge can also be continued with future users. That is the great advantage of the agreements made on shared use. Of course, the most sensitive matters cannot be shared, but the knowledge about the device can. The common driving force is the realisation of the protein transition.

Mijnders sees many opportunities in the cooperation. ‘Thanks to the Robolector we meet each other. I see possibilities, such as applying for subsidies for (EU) projects. And for us it is good if we can use the expertise of the universities, so that we can be more effective towards our customers.’ Mijnders also believes it is important for students to gain experience in a company. ‘We also see a responsibility for ourselves in this: to bring young people to the market well prepared from the outset.’

Shared Facility Finder

With Shared Facility Finder you have a wide range of top-class innovation facilities available at your fingertips. Find and share research equipment, facilities and technologies. Connect with partners and co-investors and explore available funding. Maximize productivity by sharing and using facilities and research and test your innovations before launching them on the market. Shared Facility Finder, an initiative of Foodvalley NL and Wageningen University and Research.

Interested in:

  • Using the Robolector for a faster and more efficient protein selection? Please contact
  • Funding opportunities to purchase an innovation facility? Please see the current available subsidies. Need advice? Please feel free to contact us via
  • Sharing your innovation facility or find other facilities? Please visit our website.

Questions? Get in touch

Petra Roubos
+31 (0)317 48 79 91

Subsidy for shared advanced research equipment

Subsidy for shared advanced research equipment

The subsidy scheme stimulates companies and institutes to realise research equipment in the Dutch provinces of Gelderland and Utrecht. 

Equipment for fundamental research is often expensive, yet it is hardly ever used to its full capacity. To address this challenge, the Regio Deal Foodvalley subsidy scheme provides companies and institutes the possibility to invest in shared advanced research equipment (Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 1-3). Sharing facilities is a proven method to make advanced research equipment available and cost-effective for organisations (working in the field of healthy food and living environments), which enables them to maximise productivity and accelerate innovation.

Conditions Shared Advanced Research Equipment Scheme

  • The application concerns an investment in innovative advanced research equipment in the protein transition, food & health and/or circular agrifood domains and is shared via open access. 
  • The scheme concerns TRL 1-3: fundamental research from observing basic principles, formulating the technology concept and experimental proof of concept. 
  • The investment benefits organisations in the Dutch provinces of Gelderland and Utrecht and will be realised in collaboration with Wageningen University & Research​. 
  • The investment enables organisations to shorten time to market and optimise efficiency during the innovation process.
  • The facility will also be made accessible to other organisations at a market price.
  • Open call till the end 2024. 

For more information, please see the conditions. 

Apply for Shared Advanced Research Equipment subsidy

If you require more information or if you intend to apply for a subsidy, please contact us below. 

The subsidy applications are processed by Foodvalley NL and the province of Gelderland on behalf of Regio Deal Foodvalley. Organisations can also contact Foodvalley NL for advice on other subsidies and financial schemes specifically for shared facilities. More information about sharing facilities? Please visit the Shared Facility Finder


Questions? Get in touch

Petra Roubos
+31 (0)317 48 79 91

Shared facilities

Shared Facility Finder

With Shared Facility Finder you have over 350 facilities available at your fingertips to speed up innovation and maximise productivity. Foodvalley NL and Wageningen University and Research are partners in Shared Facility Finder. Together we encourage companies and institutes to use or share facilities.

We help you find the best innovation facility or recommend you potential partners and funding options to help you purchase a new facility.

Sharing facilities is a proven method to make innovation facilities available and cost-effective for companies and institutes in the field of healthy food and living environments.

Find or share a facility

Over 350 facilities for research, testing, demonstration, scale-up or industrial-scale production available. Explore all the facilities and investment opportunities here:

Funding opportunities

Currently, the following funding options are available:

Need help

  • to find the best facility for your needs?
  • to share your facility via
  • to explore the funding options and/or find potential partners for a new facility?


We are happy to help you.

Please e-mail or call us +31 317 48 79 91.

Listen to the podcast: Growing demand for shared facilities (in Dutch)

Listen to the podcast: Growing demand for shared facilities (in Dutch)

State-of-the-art innovation facilities are fundamental to successful innovation and the transition towards a sustainable food system. But research equipment, development, demonstration, upscaling and production facilities are expensive and capacity is not always fully used.

Shared Facility Finder enables companies and institutions to make use of already more than 350 shared facilities. Sharing facilities is a proven method for companies and institutions to maximise productivity and accelerate innovation by sharing facilities, simply because it is fast, sustainable and cost-effective.

Listen to Business Update with Ron Lemmens talking to Petra Roubos, Lead Shared Facilities Foodvalley NL and Wageningen University & Research about this. As well as Wendy van Herpen, R&D Director Ecosystem Foods and Refreshment at Unilever Foods Innovation Centre “Hive”, who shares her experiences.

Questions? Get in touch

Petra Roubos
+31 (0)317 48 79 91

Shared Facility Finder helped raise 442 thousand euro for Insect Experience Centre

Shared Facility Finder helped raise 442 thousand euro for Insect Experience Centre

The Insect Experience Centre plans to use the fund to realize an automated cost-effective insect breeding system. The funding is raised via the Shared Facility Finder with a subsidy from the Regio Deal Foodvalley. “This breeding project is designed to empower the transition to a sustainable food system. We are proud that we were able, together with the founders, to give them a head start. In the near future this facility is to the advantage of more entrepreneurs: the breeding system will also be available to other entrepreneurs,” says Petra Roubos, Lead Shared Facilities Foodvalley NL.

The Shared Facility Finder, an initiative by Foodvalley NL and Wageningen University & Research, supports organizations to maximize productivity and speed up innovation by sharing facilities. Sharing facilities is fast, sustainable, and cost effective. It will contribute to sustainable and healthy food and living environments. The Shared Facility finder is the place where organizations get access to innovation facilities, to find and share research equipment, facilities, and technologies.

And, in the case of the Insect Experience Centre, Shared Facility Finder advices and connects with partners and co-investors and explores available funding.

“Our goal is to enable the use of affordable insect proteins in animal nutrition.” From a business point of view, we want to bring innovations to market faster with the Insect Experience Center and exchange knowledge with our partners. The advice from Shared Facility Finder and the financial support, help us in this,“ says founder of the Insect Experience Centre, Eltjo Bethlehem.

Aside from this project Shared Facility Finder is working on several other funding trajectories, from research equipment to upscaling and demonstration facilities needed for transition in a sustainable food system.

Explore investment and funding opportunities

Interested in investment and funding opportunities? Visit Shared Facility Finder.

Questions? Get in touch

Petra Roubos
Leader Shared Facilities
+31 317 48 79 91

Do the Facility Switch Quickscan: accelerate the protein transition and create new earning opportunities

Do the Facility Switch Quickscan: accelerate the protein transition and create new earning opportunities

Investment in new facilities is badly needed to accompany the accelerating protein transition in the longer term. For the short term, Foodvalley offers you the opportunity to quickly check whether your current production space, machine or line can also be made suitable for the processing of raw materials, the production or packaging of vegetable products. In this way, you help the protein transition and create new earning opportunities.

Is your facility suitable? Foodvalley NL would like to help you with this question. Perform this unique Facility Switch Quickscan for free.

In this video Jeroen Willemsen, Innovation lead Protein Shift, explains why we need more facilities to meet the rapidly growing demand for vegetable-based alternatives to meat and dairy. And how your facility might be able to help. Which companies have gone before you and switched their food processing and production facilities? Is your facility suitable? Experts from our network will help you redesign your facility and concretise the business case. Because together we can shape a future-proof protein system!

Successful feasibility study

The ‘protein gap’ is a risk in the accelerating protein transition: the supply of sustainably produced ingredients can barely keep up with the rapidly growing demand for vegetable-based meat and dairy products. One way to close this gap is to look in a different way at the food processing and production facilities we have available. Can we use existing facilities for other applications or markets than those for which they were originally purchased?

In 2020, Foodvalley NL and its members conducted a feasibility study to determine whether extruders, currently used for the production of breakfast cereals, could also be used for texturising field beans, soy or wheat protein, a raw material for the production of vegetable variations on meat. The results were very positive. Meanwhile, chain players such as Codrico, MFH-Pulses and Griffith Foods are working on implementing this facility switch.

That is why Foodvalley is now introducing the Facility Switch Quickscan.

Facility Switch

Facility Switch

The demand for plant-based variations for meat, dairy and fish is exploding. Supply of ingredients and products can hardly keep up, creating a ‘protein gap’. 

Can your facility fill the protein gap? Do the quickscan!

Can your facility or factory create new business opportunities? Is switching the application of existing facilities towards plant-based protein ingredients worth your time and effort? To find this out we offer you a quickscan. Fill out this quickscan and find out if your facilities may also harvest the plant protein potential. If the quickscan has a positive outcome, we can match you up to experts from the Foodvalley NL Protein Shift-ecosystem. For instance knowledge providers or members from The Protein Cluster the Foodvalley NL’s Protein Shift network.

Shared facility finder

Are you curious to see which innovation facilities or research equipment are already available? Or do you have facilities that are, or can be made available for other parties?


Gerben de Vries –  CEO Codrico Rotterdam about Facility Switch

“The Foodvalley NL Facility Switch concept supported us to broaden our food ingredients portfolio with new and more sustainable applications, while using existing technology and infrastructure. Thanks to an integrated approach, supported by experts from the Foodvalley NL ecosystem, we successfully tested and adjusted one of our extrusion lines. Originally designed for breakfast cereal production, we can now apply it to texturize plant proteins for high quality meat replacers.”

Jeroen Willemsen – Innovation Lead Protein Shift Foodvalley NL about Facility Switch

“To accelerate the energy transition, existing natural gas infrastructure is adopted for sustainable hydrogen application. We translate this ‘facility switch’ to the food domain to simultaneously create sustainable impact as well as new business opportunities. For example in the Protein Shift domain: I am convinced that existing technology and experience, e.g. from the meat and dairy processing industry, is of great value in the quest for new sustainable protein sources, ingredients and products.”


Confidental Infomation