New Rabobank-Led Initiative to Boost Consumption of Dutch-Grown Plant Proteins, Starting with Edamame Beans

Rabobank, Foodvalley NL, and the Netherlands’ Interprovincial Protein Council have partnered to launch the new Plant Protein Forward initiative, which aims to increase the consumption of Dutch-grown plant-based proteins.

The programme will work to scale up crop-specific chain initiatives as part of the Netherlands’ National Protein Strategy, which aims to make the country more self-sufficient in protein. It will focus on chain initiatives where farmers are central; this will include farmers who process the raw materials they grow (such as lupin, fava beans, or soy) into ingredients or end products.

“The cultivation of protein-rich legumes delivers value in so many ways”

It is hoped that Plant Protein Forward will increase the structural market demand for protein-rich legumes, which is currently said to be lagging behind production. Over the next three years, the programme will support at least six different crop-specific chain initiatives to help with scaling up, professionalisation, and market creation.

Plant Protein Forward initiative aims to increase consumption of Dutch-grown plant-based proteins
Image courtesy of FoodValley NL

Plant Protein Forward will be supported by chain enhancers, who will join an existing team for at least six months to address the needs of farmers and chain parties. The insights gained will be shared among two FoodValley initiatives — The Protein Community and Protein Farmers of the Netherlands.

Scaling up Dutch edamame

The first initiative to take part in Plant Protein Forward will be the Dutch edamame (fresh soybean) chain. Edamame is becoming increasingly popular in the Netherlands, but many supermarkets and caterers still opt for imported edamame from Asia. Plant Protein Forward aims to make Dutch edamame available to all citizens by 2025.

The announcement of the new programme comes just weeks after FoodValley NL launched its Protein Transition Map, which collates over 450 Dutch alt protein companies to showcase the economic benefits of the sector and enable collaborations.

Henk Schouten (right) with a Dutch grower © Schouten

Other initiatives launched as part of the Netherlands’ National Protein Strategy include a recently announced partnership between Schouten Europe and Agrifirm, which will investigate the possibility of making tempeh from Dutch soybeans and fava beans.

“The cultivation of protein-rich legumes delivers value in so many ways, think of biodiversity and soil quality,” said Marjolein Brasz, Director of Foodvalley NL. “The entire chain needs to step up to increase market demand, from producers and retailers to the public and financial sectors. That is why I am delighted about this special collaboration between Rabobank, the IPO Eiwittransitie [Interprovincial Protein Council], and Foodvalley.”

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