Coffee free coffee
The construction of new coffee plantations is a leading cause of worldwide deforestation. Global warming forces coffee farmers to look for higher grounds, and thus a cooler climate. This leads to a further destruction of rain forests. And the worldwide demand for coffee is growing as well. To offer an alternative, Northern Wonder is developing coffee made from other crops than coffee beans.
Onno Franse has over forty years of experience in the field of food and as a partner at Northern Wonder he focuses on research & development. Together with three companions, he started his search for alternatives to coffee six months ago, when Northern Wonder was founded. “At this moment, we are working simultaneously on three different levels. We have put our first product on the market, Chikko, that we’re branding at the moment. Secondly, we’re researching new ingredients as a basis for coffee. We’re especially interested in crops like grains that have already proven their worth somewhat, but that we feel have lots of growth potential. And thirdly, we work together with Wageningen University and other scientific partners to find new ingredients, and to explore new technologies and existing procedures such as roasting and toasting.”
Northern Wonder’s Chikko is a coffee substitute that comes in two varieties. One is made from chicory and the other from spelt. “Chikko is our first coffee that’s made with an alternative ingredient for coffee beans. We’re planning to introduce a new product within six months that’s based on yet another ingredient. And in the future we want to produce ‘coffee’ under the brand name Northern Wonder that is made from different blends, so we can come to an ultimate blend of locally produced ‘coffee’ substitutes based on sustainable ingredients.”
Improved chance of success
Northern Wonder joined Foodvalley NL in the summer of 2021. Onno feels it was a very logical step to take. “I have over forty years’ experience in this field, and time and time again I have come across Foodvalley NL. The combination of business and science greatly appeals to me. The Foodvalley network offers us the opportunity to work with international partners on research & development, marketing, and entrepreneurship and that’s what makes it so attractive to me. We can find all kinds of relevant parties here with specialised knowledge, from plants to raw materials to processing. Being a member of Foodvalley NL improves our chances of success.”
“We have experience with launching and marketing new products, and we have a pretty good network in retail, among other branches. And we can use that knowledge and experience to help other members of the Foodvalley network. Because a network only works if the members support each other. We are committed and are putting a lot of time, energy and money into this undertaking. That gives us the drive to succeed and make an impact, the same drive we see in the rest of the network.”