Launch The Germany Protein Program 2023 

On March 8, TPC, Oost NL and GO4EXPORT launched The Germany Program 2023, to successfully enter and grow your company in the German plant-based protein market. The program started with the workshop: Opportunities in Germany.

With 82 million inhabitants, Germany has five times as many consumers as the Netherlands. Moreover, consumption of plant-based alternatives is growing at a record pace; by more than €800 million per year. Germany is by far the largest market in Europe for plant-based meat-, fish- and dairy alternatives and an important catalyst for product development and sales in the protein transition. Entering the German market can be difficult due to differences in regulations, consumers, and ways of doing business.  

Insights workshop Opportunities in Germany
More than 30 TPC partners joined the workshop. Six keynote speakers shared their knowledge of the German plant-based protein market; Dennis Kraaijeveld, Fred van der Velde, Martijn Bosmans, Dr. Professor Guido Ritter, Jochem Wolthuis and Jeroen Willemsen.  

 Key take aways: 

  • Germany has a ‘Eiweißpflanzenstrategie’  in place since 2012. The focus is on improving primary production through research. A nutrition strategy is also being developed where more emphasis is placed on plant-based diets.  
  • Germany faces challenges: Edible insects' products have a low consumer acceptance. It is difficult to retain consumers when they no longer buy plant-based substitutes out of curiosity - which is now the main driver. Regional origin remains a key buying argument while Germany is far from self-sufficient.
  • In Germany, the retail looks different. There are four big retailers on the market and a lot of private label: that make organic and vegan products more affordable.
  • The Protein Transition is urgent. There wil be 'only 27 harvests till 2050', says Dr. Professor Guido Ritter. Maybe we should not only focus on plant-based proteins, but also alternative proteins. Interesting question arises from the public: Why are Germans so scared for the Umami taste? All products can be full of salt or sugar, but MSG [used to enhance the savoury 'umami' flavour of food] or other flavour enhances are very scary to them. Ritter agrees, but sees possibilities for fermentation, that can create the umami taste as well.
  • Germany is not that far and not that different, it is not China, they are our neighbours”, says Martijn Bosmans. Should we combine the Dutch Inventiveness and Creativity and the ‘Deutsche Gründlichkeit’?  Would that be the holy grail?  

 And what about the voice of the audience:  Is it difficult to export to Germany?
‘’Yes, you need endurance and the right contacts”, the audience concludes.  

This workshop is only the start of the Germany programme. More will follow this year:  

  • Wrap-up Workshop: Ask Questions / Online
    March 28th (16.00-17.00) 
  • FoodHubub NRW - Startup Fair in Düsseldorf
    September 13th 
  • Anuga in Cologne, the world's largest food fair (pavilion or visit)
    October 7-10th 
  • Food Ingredients in Frankfurt (pavilion or visit)
    November 28-30th 
  • 3 day 'trade mission to Germany' with RVO and Embassy, around FI in Frankfurt.
     November .
  • Join a 1-day tour to visit German retail + plant-based protein companies
    To be expected in the next quarter (Q2) of 2023

The activities of the Germany Programme are open for everyone. Partners from The Protein Community will find more information in the upcoming newsletters. Please contact if you don’t have access to this information but are interested to join.  



The protein community is proud founding partner of PlantFWD, a brand-new conference on the protein transition that brings together international start-ups, brands and investors to build a ‘plant forward’ future. National and international speakers on strategy, branding, sales and consumer behaviour for plant-based brands will be presentTickets for TPC-partners are on sale now for a special, discounted price. 

Visiting PlantFWD: discover the mind of the consumer 

At PlantFWD you will find inspiring stories and experts focusing on customer behaviour, needs and demands. Not only products, but also retail channels and customer experience. The supermarket of the future gives you a sneak preview of what that looks like in practice. From the protein community, we contribute to the increasing demand for local protein products.

More information on the PlantFWD program can be found below.

Community meeting & break out

During this international event, the TPC-community meeting will take place, combined with drinks and networking afterwards. TPC is organising a break-out session: ‘Smart Scaling with Local Proteins’. We will dive into the power of local protein brands that have found the sweet spot of the consumer. TPC partners have the opportunity to take the stage during this session. More information will follow.   

Anyone can attend PlantFWD. Discounted tickets are available exclusively to TPC partners. All TPC partners have received an email invitation with a registration link. Are you interested in becoming a partner of The Protein Community? Please contact Leo Koning.

Programme PlantFWD

Speakers Line up:  

  • Ikenna Azuike 
    Journalist, filmmaker, writer and  moderator for Plant FWD. 
  • Koert van MensvoortArtist
    Director Next Nature Network 
    The Next Nature of Plant Forward Foods
  • Ray Klaassens 
    Former Special Forces & instructor on the tv-show ‘Kamp van Koningsbrugge’ 
    Lessons for Building Strong Collaborations from an ex-Special Forces commando
  • Shaunagh Duncan and Martin Ringqvist  
    Head of Sustainability Oatly  & Executive Creative Director EMEA at Oatly 
    How Oatly is Balancing Growth & Activism
  • Isabel Boerdam  
    Founder Green Food Lab and National Week without Meat & Dairy 
    Lessons Learned from the National Week without Meat & Dairy
  • Eva van den Broek
    founder Behavioural Insights Foundation
    Designing Successful Campaigns with Behavioural Insights 


Participate in several break-out sessions, and of course join us at the tpc break out. Meet the founders of promising start- and scale-ups. Network with policy makers, investors and corporations   
Plant FWD 2023 is supported by The Protein Community, the Municipality of Amsterdam, The Province Noord-Holland, Impact Hub, Oatly, Marley Spoon, Jamael Food Group and many more 

TPC is innovating live on texture at Smaakpark 

Texture is essential for the future of plant-based meat, dairy and fish. To encourage meat-, dairy- and fish-loving consumers to adopt a more plant-based diet, the mouthfeel and texture of plant-based variations must be at least as appealing as those of animal products. In recent years, mouthwatering progress is already made and we can’t wait for more. That is why TPC organised an acceleration session: “Texturization: Creating Tasty Plant-Based Food.’

HME live experimenting shortens time to market 

On February 15, at SmaakPark in Ede, 5 key-note speakers shared their experience in texturization trends & techniques, such as fermentation and Shear Cell Technology. After the key notes, TPC partners started experimenting with texturization during a live High Moisture Extrusion (HME) demonstration executed by Henk Hoogenkamp and his colleagues from Future Foods B.V. This HME demonstration resulted in unique new combinations of ingredients supplied by TPC partners, resulting in many new insights on functionality and convincing meat-like structures.
This is a fruitful ground for future collaborations and with further research and development these ingredients have a great chance to find their way to the market.

Building iconic products and ingredients to change our food habits

“Eat less meat and more beans!” is the clear call from Jeroen Willemsen, Innovation Lead Protein Transition at Foodvalley. For those who find it difficult to switch directly from meat to beans, for example because of taste and texture, we need to ‘disguise’ the pulses and legumes in products consumers do incorporate in their daily food pattern.  To create these products, we need a combination of locally produced proteins, sustainable technologies and creative texture artists. It’s this unique combination that The Protein Community-partners can deliver, as I once more experienced during the remarkable meeting today”. 

Insights from the food artists 

Christian Weij of Smaakpark mentioned that he is not so much an artist, but mainly a father working for a better future for his children. That is what makes him so passionate about creating the future of food. It is a process of experimentation. Everyone at Smaakpark is a Guinea pig. 

Other key take aways: 

  • “It is about creating a new category of food. A growing world population can no longer eat animal meat and dairy, which is why New Meat is needed. We need to convert the meat lovers by taste and texture” – Rene van den Cruijsem from Redefine Meat 
  • “We craft food we feel good about and do not compromise on the ingredients” – Birgit Dekkers from Rival Foods 
  • “Texturization is also about the challenge to combine it with the mouthfeel” – Noa Bastiaans from Herbafoods Ingredients 
  • “We need to speed up experimentation in order to shorten time to market and make iconic products available” – Henk Hoogenkamp from Future Food 
Councillor Gerard van Deelen (Scherpenzeel) from Food Valley Region is happy to see so many passionate people working towards accessible, healthy and sustainable food. “The protein transition, is one of the main spearheads of the Food Valley Region. This topic touches several themes at the core of our cooperation program, such as healthy food, but also agricultural transition. The region is home to many food companies. This is a unique opportunity to make our food system future-proof together. The change to more plant-based food is an essential part.

TPC and Region Foodvalley 

This acceleration session was exclusively for TPC partners and was organised in cooperation with “The Foodvalley Region”. Leo Koning community manager Foodvalley is happy to see so many people join the journey shaping the future of food. “It is great to see what collaborative action can do to bring the food transition tangible into our daily lives. Region Foodvalley as a home base shows that and we from Foodvalley NL scale up to the rest from the world with our community. It brings our heart, head and hands together.  
As a TPC partner you will find the recordings at Are you interested in joining but not a member of the TPC community? Please contact Leo Koning. 

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!


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.


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.

Ferder with protein-rich crops from nearby 

The Ferder project is about protein-rich crops from nearby. It delves into the potential of fermentation, for processing protein-rich crops from the Netherlands. A regional project to process and market locally grown beans via fermentation in an innovative way. The outcome of the pilot will be used and deployed as inspiration to achieve a better business model for protein-rich crops from nearby.  

Beans & Fermentation: a winning combination? 

We have known fermentation for centuries to produce special flavours and products, from beer to yoghurt. Tempeh is a well-known soybean-based fermentation product. The big question is whether other, locally grown beans also lend themselves to the development of tasty and healthy variations on meat or dairy? And what will it take for cultivation, processing and marketing to grow in balance with a good earning model for all partners? The project group will work on these questions. The project uses locally grown lupin as a test case, with the first product being a spread. Consumers are expected to be able to taste and test a vegetable-based spread cheese at Smaakpark in Ede early this year. 

Get in contact

Interested in how protein-rich crops accelerate the food transition?
Please contact Jeroen Willemsen

Working together  

The participating parties in the project are; Smaakpark Ede, Lekker Lupine, Ekoboerderij de Lingehof and initiators Regio Foodvalley, Foodvalley NL and Proeflab Wageningen. The province of Gelderland and the Ministry of LNV are also involved. Products that can also be tested directly from the Smaakpark food lab in a food environment; Smaakpark restaurant. 

Sustainable food system    

A more sustainable food system contributes to feeding the world’s growing population and improving the climate. The partners are working towards a food system where we eat a variety of food with a healthy balance in the consumption of plant and animal proteins. On 14 July 2022, 56 organisations signed the Bean Deal, or Green Deal Protein-rich Crops. Region Foodvalley and Foodvalley NL have the ambition to strengthen local chains and accelerate plant-based food production and consumption. Together with parties from the region. 

Renze Brouwer, project manager National Protein Strategy at LNV: “I am pleased that signatories of the BeanDeal are giving concrete substance to the major food challenge of adding innovative value to protein crops from Dutch soil. This project is a fine example of this that we wholeheartedly support and want to take forward.” 

Download  full press release (Dutch).

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. 



New Fermentation Lab in Foodvalley Region will accelerate the protein transition 

To provide more organisations with the opportunity to experiment with fermentation, a new and innovative Fermentation Lab will be established at Smaakpark, a hub for sustainable food initiatives in Ede. Fermentation is essential for making plant-based products tastier, processing food waste streams and extending the shelf life of food products. This makes it an important part of the plans to accelerate the transition to plant-based proteins and a circular economy. 

Fermentation Lab as part of the Foodvalley Regional Deal and Shared Facility Finder 

The bulk of the Fermentation Lab’s funding is provided by the Foodvalley ‘Regional Deal’. The lab will be about 110 square metres, not counting a greenhouse complex and fishponds, and will participate in the Shared Facility Finder (SFF). This is a joint initiative of Foodvalley NL and Wageningen University & Research (WUR) that encourages businesses, entrepreneurs and institutions to use each other’s facilities. Interested parties can find the Fermentation Lab and book its facilities through the SSF. 

“Research facilities are often not used for 100%,” says Petra Roubos of Foodvalley NL. “Sharing these facilities is a sustainable way to invest in the circular economy together. The best thing about it is that it brings people from different backgrounds together to share their knowledge, resulting in innovative and practical ideas.” 

Initiator Smaakpark Ede attracting new participants 

Smaakpark Ede is the initiator, owner and user of the Fermentation Lab and has been experimenting with fermentation for several years. “Foodvalley NL noticed our work and pointed us to a grant to develop the idea further,” says Christian Weij, director of Smaakpark. “With the help of the Shared Facilities funding provided by the Foodvalley Regional Deal, we can now build a completely new lab and provide more businesses and researchers with access to it.” Several organisations have already signed up to use the lab, including Aeres University of Applied Sciences and WUR. 

The lab is a big step forward for the protein transition. By sharing the lab, the costs for entrepreneurs can be kept to realistic proportions, making it an ideal initiative for small and young businesses. They can use the lab to experiment and further develop products that will eventually find their way to consumers. This is one of the core activities of Foodvalley NL, says Roubos. “We want to keep expanding the sustainable food ecosystem. We know what is needed for a successful grant application and the users of the facilities know what innovations the market is looking for. We need to find and connect with each other to achieve the transition to sustainability, and the support provided by the Regional Deal has facilitated this.” 

More information 

The Shared Facility Finder (SFF) is a platform where organisations can share research and innovation facilities. A map displays which facilities are currently available. The platform also provides support and funding to users who want to create new facilities or provide access to facilities that are currently not accessible to other users. Some 350 sites currently participate in the Shared Facility Finder. 

Interested in using or sharing innovation facilities? More information

Download full press release (Dutch)

Protein transition in Gelderland a promising new sustainable industry

According to a monitor developed by The Protein Community and the province of Gelderland, the sector involved in the protein transition has shown above average growth over the past five years. The monitor is intended to provide insight into the economic impact of the protein transition at the national level. 

The protein transition: a sustainable sector on the rise

The protein transition involves restoring the balance in the production and consumption of animal and plant protein (less animal, more plant). Because of the benefits for the climate, natural resources and public health, the transition is high on the government’s agenda. A sector is developing to support this transition that aims to make sustainable protein ingredients, products and technologies available to consumers and the industry. However, there is little data available about the current and future economic value of this sector. The Protein Community (TPC) was founded in 2017 by Foodvalley NL, the provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel and Oost NL. The recent celebrations to mark TPC’s fifth anniversary were a good opportunity to gain more insight into this new sector.

Above-average growth in Gelderland

The growth in employment opportunities, the number of businesses and the economic value of the transition were analysed in a pilot project for the province of Gelderland. The analysis was based on TPC’s database of Dutch businesses active in the protein transition, as well as the results of the annual Provincial Employment Survey. The results showed above-average growth for Gelderland: the number of jobs in the identified group of 66 businesses grew from 1,730 in 2017 to 1,920 in 2021, an increase of 11.2%. By comparison, the growth of employment opportunities in all sectors during the same period was 6.9%. Also notable is the added value of protein businesses, at well above €100 million. In Gelderland, the total number of businesses operating in this sector increased by 70% over the past five years to 75 companies in 2021.

More information

Confidental Infomation