Vegafit is the brand name of the plant-based products of Bobeldijk Food Group from the Netherlands. The company offers startups the possibility to test on industrial scale. Bobeldijk is a member of The Protein Cluster (TPC).
Vegafit has a large assortment meat-free products with for example nuggets, cordon bleu, burgers, falafel and minced meat. Vegafit uses wheat or soy protein that comes from European farmers. The other ingredients are also sourced locally wherever possible. In the Netherlands, their home market, the Vegafit products are exclusively sold at the largest retailer of the country Albert Heijn, and online.
Vegafit is participating in a faba beans value chain project in the East of the Netherlands. Bobeldijk developed faba bean balls, a 100% plant-based protein rich product, made from Dutch faba beans. The company used the first batch of 50 kilograms from a test field in Lelystad for finetuning the product, but suffered a delay in the actual production. The harvest of the only farmer growing faba beans for Vegafit failed, due to the extreme drought in the Summer of 2018. Moreover, the crop was affected by beetles. “You are dependent on the conditions in the field, especially when you are experimenting with a new crop,” Bobeldijk Director Remko Vogelenzang says. They will learn from their experiences. Besides, Vegafit is looking for more partners to grow faba beans.
The problems caused by the failed harvest could have been solved by importing faba beans, but Vogelenzang stuck to his principle to use local ingredients. As a result the introduction, scheduled for mid-February 2019, had to be postponed by several months. Vogelenzang is looking forward to the next harvest of the winter faba beans in March or April 2019.
Bobeldijk puts a lot of effort in new product development, but also stimulates innovation of startups in the field of plant-based products. Bobeldijk offers them facilities to test an industrial production. It is a small investment for the startup companies, explains Vogelenzang. “They can produce small quantities, starting from only 500 kilograms. It supplies them with the final product that they can present to their clients, and gives them samples for microbiological analysis and nutritional value. Moreover, it gives them insight in the cost of production.”
Bobeldijk helps the startups during the test production. The company hopes it doesn’t end there. If the innovation turns out to be successful, they want to want to keep on producing the product.
Vegafit was one of the participants on the Foodvalley booth on Health ingredients Europe in November 2018. “We stood there next to Duplaco and GreenFood50 and we all benefitted from being there together. It was a successful tradeshow for us, although my neighbours got more attention with their ingredients than I did with my consumer products. But that is not surprisingly on a ingredients tradeshow.”
In 2019 Foodvalley NL also offers companies active in the Foodvalley ecosystem the opportunity to highlight their innovations at the Foodvalley booth during Food ingredients Europe, 3rd to 5th of December in Paris.
Bobeldijk is a member of the Protein Cluster (TPC), a global platform for ingredient suppliers, food manufacturers and other stakeholders working with plant-based, vegan or vegetarian solutions. TPC enables them to expand their business. “We especially benefit from the diversity of the TPC members with their own knowledge and expertise. They are all specialists who want to share their knowledge.” The Protein Cluster is managed by Foodvalley NL. For more information, please visit theproteincluster.com, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.