Protein Shift

Strengthening the global protein ecosystem and ensuring a future-proof, well-balanced protein consumption and production all around the world by 2050. That’s the focus of the Innovation field Protein Shift.

From niche to mainstream

Protein is critical to human nutrition and economic development. To ensure food security, food safety and sustainability for the estimated world population of 10 billion in 2050, the majority of proteins consumed needs to be of plant-based origin.

In Europe, this requires a substantial shift. One which currently is in full swing as we are rapidly approaching the protein transition tipping point: the moment where plant-based moves from niche to mainstream. Corporates and investors are stepping up, as they have noticed that the demand for plant-based substitutes for meat, dairy and fish is growing exponentially. Accelerating this transition demands joint efforts and new roles for all stakeholders involved.

In Asia, the challenge is to prevent an overshoot in protein consumption and to maintain plant protein as the main source of protein. New protein pathways need to be built, ensuring efficient transfer of human capital, innovative technologies, and knowledge about plant protein.


A future-proof protein system, connecting consumption and production around the world, by the end of this decade. With (average) diets in which the ratio of plant to animal protein is higher than 1.

To achieve this ambition, the Innovation field Protein Shift focuses on two major challenges:

  • Closing the protein gap

Ensuring that the supply of raw materials, ingredients and products, while respecting consumer and industry demands, keeps up with the exponential market growth. Foodvalley wants novel technologies to become available for users around the world as fast as possible by facilitating development as well as upscaling technology. Our role is to unite various parties, to keep all stakeholders informed, and to share solutions and relevant data. 

This is why we developed the Facility switch quickscan. The quickscan is an easy way to find out if an existing facility can be used to meet the growing demand. Can your facility create new business opportunities and fill the protein gap? Is switching the application of your existing facilities towards plant-based protein ingredients worth your time and effort? Do the quickscan and find out if your facility can be of value through ‘Facility switch’!

  • Becoming more protein self-sufficient

We enable organisations to build short value chains for local plant-protein production and consumption, in the Netherlands and abroad. We connect innovative entrepreneurs with partners both upstream and downstream that can help them to achieve strong market positions.

Lead by Example

The Protein Shift Innovation field guides companies and organisations, and aims to harvest the impact potential of plant proteins by various means, including:

  • The Protein Cluster: Foodvalley’s international network connects plant-protein start-ups and corporates worldwide. Accelerating their innovations and business growth by coupling them with inspiring international partners, capital, unique facilities and knowledge, and providing in-depth webinars. Benefit from our many years of experience!
  • Initiatives: Some examples: strategic partnerships and programs on short-chain plant-protein production and consumption, feasibility studies on sourcing and functionality and technology sharing. From facilitating stakeholders to create value from plant proteins, highlighting novel breeding technologies to ‘facility switch’, and redesigning existing facilities for the production of meat, fish and dairy analogues.
  • Ecosystem overview: Keeping you updated on Protein Shift consortia, projects, governmental activities, developments and innovative ingredients, products and facilities, and companies that are active in the Protein Shift domain. This innovation theme provides you with useful tools such as innovations scans, the protein facility map and a visualisation of the Protein Shift ecosystem.

For more state-of-the-art innovation facilities, have a look at shared facilities.

Participate now

Join the Protein Shift to enjoy the following benefits:

  • Tailor-made advice on development, upscaling and marketing.
  • Inspiration, new insights and optimization of ingredients, products and technologies.
  • Be the first to hear about the latest news and developments.
  • Give your organisation a role on the global stage.
  • Meet inspiring international partners and investors.

What our members say

De Nieuwe Melkboer: "For a long time, my brother and I were hesitant to start our 'plant-dairy farm'. Foodvalley NL's experts convinced us that we could really make a difference and brought us in contact with local production partners. We successfully launched our first 'plant-milk' in December 2020. And there's more to come!"

The Protein Brewery - Innogusto: "What's in the name? Everything! This creative wizard I met at Foodvalley NL came up with a catchy new name and identity for my high-tech fermentation start-up. Ever since then, we’ve received the exposure we had only dreamed of, leading to a multi-million euro investment."

Freggies - Piet de Wit snacks: "We knew we were sitting on a gold mine with this plant-based snack concept, but we didn't want to produce it ourselves. Foodvalley NL Protein Facility Map lead us to a snack producer who was looking to expand in the vegan domain."


Want to know more about the Innovation field Protein Shift? Or perhaps you would like to discuss participating in a key activity with Foodvalley. Contact Jeroen Willemsen, Innovation Lead Protein Shift at Foodvalley NL.

Jeroen Willemsen’s passion and expertise

Jeroen, aka ‘the protein commissioner of the Netherlands’, has dedicated his career to accelerating the protein shift. During the past 20 years, he has held various roles in the protein transition. At first as a researcher developing new technologies for protein fractionation and texturisation. Later on, in 2009, entrepreneurship beckoned and Jeroen co-founded the next-generation meat analog company Ojah which experienced a rapid growth.
In the last couple of years, Jeroen has brought together stakeholders in the value chain in their joint ambition to achieve innovation in plant proteins. Jeroen is convinced that these different responsibilities have provided him with the knowledge, experience and international network to further strengthen the thriving Protein Shift ecosystem.


Participate now

Jeroen Willemsen
Innovation Lead Protein Shift
+31 6 177 380 37

tpc the protein cluster
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