The Netherlands is working on the protein transition: the threshold of 250 companies has been passed

An inventory from Foodvalley NL and Oost NL shows that at least 250 companies in the Netherlands are committed to the protein transition, the number have doubled since 2010. From the cultivation of algae to faba bean and insect farming, from precision fermentation to cultured meat, to plant-based equivalents for meat or dairy products to new technics for processing legume. The growth can be explained by an increase in start-ups, the establishment of foreign companies and an increasing number of producers with new protein applications.

New companies with pioneering innovations

Foodvalley NL previously reported that The Netherlands has more than 50 initiatives of cooperating companies, governments and educational institutions that are committed to the protein transition. The new report gives an overview of all the companies that are working towards this goal. For example, new companies such as The Protein Brewery, Meatable FUMI, InsectoCycle and De Nieuwe Melkboer (The New Milk Farmer) are coming up with pioneering technologies, ingredients and concepts. Foreign giants such as Oatly and Beyond Meat are carrying out their production from the Netherlands. And large corporates such as Vion, Unilever and Friesland Campina are focusing more on plant-based products.

According to Jeroen Willemsen, Innovation Lead Protein Shift at Foodvalley NL, the rapid growth marks a new transition phase. "The Netherlands is working on the protein transition. Twenty years of investing in an ecosystem is starting to pay off in terms of global impact, new business models and employment. A wonderful achievement!".

Inspired by good examples

"Making new connections is crucial," notes Marjolein Brasz, director of Foodvalley NL. "It is precisely the less obvious connections that lead to great initiatives. For example, we are seeing more and more companies in the meat, fish and dairy industries who are building new networks, often with help from Foodvalley NL, in order for them to include plant-based products."

Foodvalley NL facilitates this network with The Protein Cluster, together with provinces and regional development agencies. The cluster grew in two years from 40 to 100 members. Besides 80 Dutch companies, and 20 international companies’ suppliers of ingredients, products, machines and supporting services.

Foodvalley NL expects the number of companies to double again within five years. "Certainly, when entrepreneurs all over the chain are inspired by the sucessful examples. There is still a lot of work to be done", says Willemsen.

The inventory marks the starting point of the Alt Protein NL sector study. The study focuses on the Dutch market as well as the international ambitions of Dutch players, trade, innovation, and investments. Larive International has been selected by Oost NL, RVO, the Topsector Agri & Food, Foodvalley NL and NFIA to carry out this study, which will be completed at the end of 2021.

Do your bit for the protein transition too

Is your company active in the area of plant proteins or do you have a plant protein business idea that needs further development, upscaling or marketing? Consider joining The Protein Cluster. The Protein Cluster (TPC) is a business network platform of Foodvalley NL. As a TPC participant from Foodvalley NL you will receive matchmaking services for partnerships and the possibility to build consortia of companies and other stakeholders active in developing plant protein innovations. Take a look at our website or contact Jeroen Willemsen (, Innovation Lead Protein Shift at Foodvalley NL.

Innovation Lead Protein Shift

+31 6 177 380 37

Is your company active in the area of plant proteins or do you have a business idea that needs the next step?

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