Foodvalley up to the plate
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Foodvalley up to the plate

  • 21 November 2022
  • By: Jolijn Zwart-van Kessel, Jeroen Willems en Judith van der Horst – Graat

Getting healthy, sustainable and efficiently produced food on our plates. Our experts identify promising opportunities at an early stage. With their sights set on 2050, but with application possibilities for today. To do so, they work together with frontrunners.

This is not a matter of just a new product or processing process. It is about putting the pieces of the puzzle of the future back together. Together, we create ideas for a more efficient, healthy and sustainable food system.

Each domain has an Innovation lead, who, with a team of experts around them, delves into the relevant themes around that subfield. On these pages, the three Innovation leads Jolijn Zwart-van Kessel, Jeroen Willems and Judith van der Horst - Graat answer the question: Which developments should we respond to now? And how are they, as Innovation leads, actually working on this themselves? What fuels their drive?

Jolijn Zwart-van Kessel
Innovation Lead Circular Agrifood

Which developments should we respond to now?

"Raw materials are becoming scarcer, commodity prices are rising. It is therefore time to use our resources more efficiently and effectively, by reusing and upgrading residual flows, for example.

From these, valuable nutrients are created. In the Upcycling Community, we bring together partners from different chains who are looking for optimal processing solutions.

Besides pigs and chickens, insects are good and sustainable upcyclers. If this market grows, the sector will have more room for innovation. And that in turn is necessary for a transformation to a mainstream market.

Another point is that agriculture in Europe is under pressure. Farmers need to produce more sustainably and nature-inclusively, while delivering the same yields in tonnages.

A solution to this dilemma may lie with regenerative agriculture. Finding a business model with a long-term perspective is a task for the whole chain."

How are you yourself involved in this, and what is your drive in doing so?

"I myself come from a farming family business, so I literally have 'one foot in the clay'. I want to build a bridge between corporate ambitions and the farmer's perspective.

My drive is to find an economically and ecologically sustainable solution together that helps both parties in the chain move forward.

My drive also lies with the insects as upcyclers. Encouraging cooperation and a market scan help with that, which I explain in detail later in this special.

Cooperation by offering insight, that's how I build bridges!"

Foodvalley NL is currently exploring ways to accelerate the uptake of waste streams in food production. If you are interested, please contact Jolijn Zwart-van Kessel

Jeroen Willemsen
Innovation Lead Protein Transition

What developments should we respond to now?

"The restoration of the protein balance -returning to a food pattern with more vegetable than animal proteins- is in full swing. Time to shift gears now and link consumption to production. Local production of plant proteins that is, to become more self-sufficient again.

The cultivation, processing and consumption of regional proteins, such as from field beans, soy, lupin or chickpeas, cannot be separated. That is why Foodvalley took the initiative for the national Bean Deal, involving all chain partners.

An important focus here is on farmers who grow proteins, the 'protein farmers of the Netherlands'. For them, the financial risks of growing leguminous crops are still very high. They deserve full appreciation and support.

The Bean Deal helps them with this, for instance by making the possibilities of vegetable protein from own soil transparent to consumers, retailers and governments; for the soil, the farmer and the citizen.

How are you yourself involved in this, and what is your drive in doing so?

"I shine a different light on the protein transition by providing insight into the opportunities it offers and cashing in on them.

For example, by analysing consumer trends together with our partners, or investigating how sales channels react to the 'new-food trend'. And converting these possibilities into concrete opportunities and picking them up together with partners.

This can be done by helping entrepreneurs one-on-one, but also by going out together.
Like through our fact-finding mission in Germany for food entrepreneurs with export ambitions.

It's great to work together with Dutch gamechangers on this transition; to show that and how it can be done."

If you have a good idea, let us know!  Get in touch with Jeroen Willemsen.

More information on

Judith van der Horst – Graat
Innovation Lead Food & Health

Which developments should we respond to now?

Digitalisation! We focus on finding new solutions and tools to monitor and improve an individual's health so that people are better guided and helped in making healthy choices. By accelerating innovations in personalised nutrition advice, we aim to contribute to a healthier and more equitable food system.

An individual can collect data themselves by measuring things in saliva, urine or blood, but also more simply fill in something about your lifestyle in a short questionnaire.

This data is converted via an algorithm into customised advice. With personalised nutritional advice, it may be possible to reduce complex problems such as obesity and malnutrition."

How are you personally involved in this and what is your drive in doing so?

I bring the pioneers from the personalised nutrition ecosystem together in a Community. Together with these pioneers, we enable upscaling by launching concrete initiatives. We explore all areas; from data and IT infrastructure, profitable business models to the legal framework. Together with 53 stakeholders, we wrote the 'Personalised nutrition position paper' where we developed, among others an ecosystem-based definition of personalised nutrition. 

It is great to be able to make a positive difference together with all stakeholders in the way we provide (information about) nutrition."

Are you interested in making the healthy choice the easy choice? Contact Judith van der Horst.

More information on

What does it mean for a partner to be part of a Foodvalley community?

The partners associated with Foodvalley support each other, challenge each other and connect in Communities.

Judith: "You will participate in networking and 'meet the new partner' meetings, awareness and acceleration sessions, workshops, trend trips and so on."

Jolijn: "You find people with the same ambition. A lot of new connections arise because you get in touch with each other here in a low-threshold way. A few months after the meet-ups, very often - thanks to the new collaborations - beautiful innovations pop up."

Jeroen: "Here you are heard and taken seriously. You get the energy to continue where others stop, the knowledge to turn your ideas into concrete products. Not infrequently, our partners step over their own shadow, working together to form the critical mass needed for change."

Source: Foto's: ©James Media