The next generation of meat substitutes
There are already plenty of substitutes on the market for processed meats like sausages and burgers. But alternatives for whole-cut meat are still very much in the research stage. Not for much longer though, if it is up to Rival Foods, because this company has both the know-how and the technology to develop these products. And when these alternatives become available, consumers will opt for quality meat substitutes more often. The wider the range of products on offer, the larger the impact on the protein transition will be.
Birgit Dekkers is one of the founders of Rival Foods. The company was established in 2019. Just a year later, Rival Foods won the Sustainable Innovation Award, issued by the major Dutch bank Rabobank. Birgit got her PhD at the Wageningen University for research into ways of providing structure to plant-based proteins. She decided to expand upon that research. So, together with Ernst Breel, she set up Rival Foods. “In July, we joined Foodvalley’s Innovation field Protein Shift. Our new technology makes a new generation of whole-cut meat substitutes available. It’s important to market these alternatives, because consumers are obviously not likely to want to eat the current range of plant-based sausages and burgers seven days a week. There is a real demand for plant-based steak, for instance.”
The next step
“I know Foodvalley from when I attended Wageningen University. We joined because we feel the network could have tremendous practical value for us. Rival Foods brings the know-how and the technology to develop new products into the bargain and we ourselves are in want of a good location for a demo production facility where we can develop test products while maintaining food safety. Foodvalley’s network can certainly help us with finding such a location.”
More than plant-based
“It is our ambition to make this new generation of meat substitutes available to the whole world. Together with suppliers of ingredients and partners further down the chain that specialise in marketing products. We also want to take further steps to increase the sustainability of our products. We use ingredients like soy, peas and wheat now, and for the next versions of our products we’re looking at fava beans, rapeseed and sunflower seed. We have had some small successes with those new ingredients already. Moreover, we think it’s interesting to look beyond plant-based proteins; we’re experimenting with proteins from micro-organisms. Suppliers of innovative ingredients such as these can be found within Foodvalley NL.”