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Schouten Europe and Agrifirm Investigate Potential of Tempeh Made From Dutch Soy & Fava Beans

Dutch companies Schouten Europe and Agrifirm have announced a collaboration that will investigate the possibility of making tempeh from Dutch soybeans and fava beans.

Schouten Europe produces meat alternatives and other plant-based products, while Agrifirm provides products and services to farmers to improve productivity and sustainability. The new collaboration stems from the Bean Deal, which is part of the Netherlands’ National Protein Strategy — an initiative launched in 2020 that aims to enhance the cultivation of protein-rich crops.

“Instead of using soy from abroad, we prefer Dutch soybeans or fava beans”

With support from Agrifirm, Schouten launched a soybean cultivation pilot last year. The companies plans to expand this in 2024, with more growers and different soybean varieties.

Schouten then hopes to turn these soybeans — along with other locally-grown pulses such as fava beans — into tempeh. The company will introduce the product throughout the Dutch hospitality and food service sector, including at restaurants.

Henk Schouten (right) with a Dutch grower. © Schouten

High-quality protein

Schouten is already very active in producing tempeh in India, where the company introduced its sustainable Tempeh Today production system in 2021. The system helps to provide a better life for farmers and workers, while also making high-quality protein more accessible. Tempeh contains about 22 grams of protein per 100 grams, and is rich in vitamin B, minerals, and fibers.

Schouten also offers a wide range of other plant-based products, including fish and chicken alternatives as well as plant-based egg whites. The company announced last year that it had partnered with Grassa to investigate the potential of meat alternatives made from grass protein. Schouten also introduced a vegetable-based snack for kids in October.

“At Schouten, we have a lot of experience in producing tempeh,” said Henk Schouten of Schouten Europe. “Instead of using soy from abroad, we prefer Dutch soybeans or fava beans. We are pleased to partner with Agrifirm on this. The collaboration will investigate the quality and technical feasibility of processing Dutch soybeans and fava beans. Additionally, we will explore the commercial viability and possible business models for all parties in the chain.”

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