Papendal: Global experts in sports nutrition

How do you ensure that top athletes, using your sports center, can find something they like from a range of tasty, nutritious meals and snacks? Nobody knows more about this than the people at Papendal. This top sports training center is globally recognized as a center of expertise in sports nutrition.

“Manufacturers come to us to make the next step in product development. The step that will significantly increase their chances of success in the market,” says Jeroen Wouters, Innovation Manager Sports & Nutrition at Papendal. Let’s look at three real-world examples.


All top athletes know that protein is important for muscle building. And recent science shows that it is better to spread protein intake throughout the day: more protein for breakfast, a little less for lunch, and even less for dinner. In practice, however, the protein-light dinner is difficult to incorporate into a fitness lifestyle: what top athlete wants a tiny piece of meat on his plate? Papendal solved this problem by bringing together meat producer Nice-to-Meat and mushroom specialist Scelta Mushrooms. Together they developed the Champburger, a hybrid burger of meat and mushrooms. “It was a puzzle to find just the right ratio of the two ingredients and to create a ‘meaty’ structure. But, together with our chef Erik te Velthuis and our sports nutrition panel, we developed a superb combination. With the Champburger, athletes get a normal portion of ‘meat’ on their plates, while consuming less protein and more vegetables” says the Sport & Nutrition Innovation Manager. “An additional advantage is that our mushrooms have a high vitamin D content; top athletes often have low vitamin D levels.”

Jumping/impact athletes

Another great example is their collaboration with Rousselot, who manufacturer collagen peptides. These proteins, which occur naturally in bones and skin, help protect connective tissue and tendons, which are often highly stressed, by explosive jumping sports like volleyball. Papendal conducted a study, together with Rousselot, on how to improve intake of these proteins. “Collagen peptides are now available, in the Top Sports restaurant, in an orange juice drink: because vitamin C enhances their effect. At Papendal, volleyball players and handball players now use the supplement daily, under the supervision of a sports dietitian,” says Wouters.

Papendal Nutritionapp

The Papendal Nutritionapp, co-developed with an IT company, is proving an extremely useful and usable innovation. It enables athletes, who pay for their meal at the Top Sports restaurant, to not only see the price, but also the nutritional value of the products they have chosen. “This gives athletes insight into their macronutrients intake, such as proteins and carbohydrates, and also their micronutrient intakes, such as minerals and vitamins,” says Wouters. “Young athletes around the age of 16, 17, 18 are shown how to use the app. It is a fun way to ensure they have a balanced intake of proteins and vitamins and a varied diet. Because, if you exercise a lot, good nutrition is key to feeling fitter and performing at your best.”


Sports Center Papendal collaborates with more than just nutrition companies. It is also working on optimal nutrition for world-class athletes with top center Eat2Move, a nutrition and exercise innovation hub based around Wageningen University & Research, Arnhem-Nijmegen University of Applied Sciences, Gelderse Vallei hospital, NIZO, Friesland Campina, NOC * NSF and Sports Center Papendal. For companies interested in participating or learning more, Eat2Move organizes an infoday every quarter: the next is on September 30, 2019. “Chef Erik te Velthuis and I listen to their ideas and advise them on their next steps. Often this leads to new collaborations," says Wouters.

Sportcentrum Papendal is one of the Foodvalley Members.

kitchen at papendal
Confidental Infomation