A drastic change of our food consumption pattern is inevitable. A transition towards more plant based proteins (‘green proteins’) can contribute considerably in realising this objective. Converting plant based proteins to animal based products implies substantial losses in terms of energy and proteins. Increasing the human consumption of planted based proteins leads to a more efficient use of raw materials. By also using relatively low value waste streams to produce proteins resources suitable for human consumption and by making use of other, preferably local protein resources for feed stock, an important contribution is also made to the circular economy.
The number of players active in this fields grows rapidly. This reflects a mix of smaller, young companies as well as larger, established firms. They operate in various parts of the value chain. Growers are active, for instance, in producing soy beans, lupine, duckweed and algae. Others process plant based raw materials, ingredients (B-2-B), intermediate products and (B-2-C) final products. Moreover, companies offer machines or machines parts needed for harvesting, fractioning, processing and (after)treatment. In addition, brand cooperatives support the introduction of new products towards specific target groups. On top of this, a large number of service organisations offer, among others, product analyses and support the upscaling of production. All these activities are backed by renowned research centers, consortia as well as network organisations.
Recently, the interest in plant based proteins has grown rapidly. This offers great opportunities from companies active in the field. Besides, positive effects of this protein transition can be expected in terms of the use of soil, air, water and raw materials.
The Protein Cluster
The Protein Cluster has a clear focus:
- Supporting innovations based on plant based proteins.
- The needs of companies are leading. Knowledge providers participate if needed.
- Collaboration in the value chain is important, but our starting-point is ‘post-harvest’.
- Innovations are primarily focused on product innovations, cost reduction and sustainability of production processes.