Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency on Why The Netherlands is Attracting So Much Plant-Based Industry

Martijn Lammers_NFIA
Martijn Lammers of NFIA

We have been frequently reporting about the increased investments and plantbased developments in the Netherlands, with large companies such as Upfield establishing facilities and household names like Beyond Meat partnering with Zandbergen. Why are companies looking to this part of the world so much at this moment?

We spoke with Martijn Lammers, Senior Advisor Agrofood at the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency to find out why.

Why is the Netherlands the ideal location in Europe for companies in the plant-based sector?
The Netherlands is one of Europe’s biggest trade hubs both importing and exporting huge volumes of food goods. Being a trading nation for centuries has smoothed out this path of logistics, taxation and value-adding. This tradition continues and is currently shifting more towards plant-based. This has much to do with companies driving the plant-based market with their products like Beyond Meat and Unilever (which purchased The Vegetarian Butcher) and with our research & development capabilities.

What research & development capacities are already available in this sector?
At the center of our R&D capabilities, you’ll find Wageningen University & Research is the number one agriculture university in the world. Additionally, other Universities add to food knowledge infrastructure and very importantly the universities of applied sciences. The latter are often the main suppliers of talent for SMEs

Which major plant-based players have already chosen the Netherlands?
Next to our food giants like KraftHeinz, ADM, Cargill , Danone, and Unilever, the Netherlands are home to a score of small specialized foodtech companies like Fumi ingredients, Plenti and TOP bv. In our segment of bigger companies recent starters are Upfield and Beyond Meat.

What support programmes are available for companies in the plant-based sector in the Netherlands.
The plant-based sector is supported by generic incentives for all R&D work. Interestingly there is a lot of support from collaborative organizations and research. Foodvalley and the Protein Cluster help their members with practical advice and provide excellent networking opportunities. Many companies also find opportunities to collaborate in R&D programs on an EU level or national level in the top institute of food & nutrition.

What does the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency support companies in the plant-based sector?
Although companies like to rely on their own knowledge, contacts and business intelligence, the NFIA can often add valuable support to companies when it comes to setting up shop in the Netherlands. Our extensive network of service providers, local authorities, existing companies and knowledge institutes allows the NFIA to answer questions, set up vital connections and, most importantly, organizes fact-finding trips: seeing is believing! Through our investor relations program we keep in touch with our current investors that more often than not it’s those investors that help to build the food & agriculture brand that is the Netherlands. This is only possible through intensive collaboration with our regional partners and our logistics partner HIDC: together we are Invest In Holland.