The home-grown protein shift of CZAV
Meat substitutes often contain plant-based proteins that are imported from faraway countries, which is odd, as Dutch growers could easily produce these proteins themselves. The thing is that it’s very cheap to import soy and other proteins that have not been sustainably produced. To strengthen the protein shift, CZAV is researching how to set up a sustainable, cost-effective protein production in the Netherlands.
CZAV is an abbreviation that roughly translates as ‘southern cooperative for buying and selling’. Jurriaan Visser is Manager for Grains, Seeds and Pulses at CZAV. He talks about the upsides and the downsides of trying to set up home-grown production of ingredients for meat substitutes and the like.
Research and cooperation
“We joined the Innovation field Protein Shift of Foodvalley in 2021. We have noticed a rising demand for plant-based proteins, but also for sustainable, local production. We’d like to collaborate with Foodvalley members that use pulses and grains in their products, so we can research innovations together. The aim is to expand our network to include ambitious, high-quality partners that want to focus on local production. And we’d like to start up more projects together, to see how we can add value to our sustainably produced protein crops.”
From trade to knowledge
“CZAV was founded over ninety years ago as a trading cooperative. The core business: marketing the grains, pulses and edible seeds of its members. We represent around three thousand farmers, mainly family businesses. Nowadays, CZAV focuses more on knowledge and know-how. We gather and share a great deal of information about, for example, plant resilience, plant species and healthy soil conditions.
We invest in gaining and spreading knowledge on crop cultivation, and we strive for a sustainable agriculture. We also expressly look for financial return. Our aim is to help our growers to produce their goods with as little environmental impact as possible, while still ensuring a fair profit.”
Jurriaan Visser, CZAV