Meatless Week (Week Zonder Vlees will launch in Belgium for the first time

© Week Zonder Vlees

Charity & Campaigns

Successful Dutch Meatless Week Campaign Launches for the First Time in Belgium as Semaine Sans Viande

Meatless Week (Week Zonder Vlees), a campaign encouraging Dutch citizens to give up meat for a week and try plant-based alternatives, will launch for the first time in Belgium as Semaine Sans Viande from the 23rd to the 29th of October 2023.  Week Zonder Vlees is a foundation created by the food blogger Isabel Boerdam in The Netherlands to accelerate the path towards a more plant-based diet into concrete actions with directly measurable results. The project aims to raise awareness of the positive impact of a meat-free diet on human health and its potential to contribute to the 2030 climate goals. “Meatless Week challenges you to give up meat for a week and choose unexpected alternatives. It’s the perfect opportunity to taste and experiment with plant-based foods …


Thea Smit, ME-AT

Thea Smit, Director New Product Development, Vion


ME-AT: “In Five Years’ Time, Plant-Based Products Will Be Cheaper and Even Better Tasting Than Real Meat”

Vion Food Group is an international producer of meat, meat products, and plant-based alternatives with production locations in the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. Vion says that we need to move our diets towards more plant-based protein sources, and in response, the company launched ME-AT (pronounce as meat), a white label that designs and develops 100% plant-based meat alternatives that it says offer the appearance, feel, and taste of animal meat. Important to note, from a vegan publication, is that Vion’s slaughterhouse and meat processing plant in Leeuwarden became a vegan meat factory upon the launch of ME-AT. We spoke with Thea Smit, Director New Product Development at Vion Food Group, and Willem Cranenbroek, General Manager of ME-AT.   You launched your plant-based white-label ME-AT three …


COSUCRA's banner advertising its agricultural activities

Image credit: COSUCRA FB

Agriculture / Agribusiness

COSUCRA Raises €45M for Nutrition-Boosting Chicory and Pea-Based Ingredients

COSUCRA, a Belgian leader in plant ingredients, has secured €45 million to fund its environmental, social, and economic transition, including the reduction of its carbon footprint and increased production of sustainable chicory and pea-based ingredients. Founded in 1852 in Warcoing, Belgium as a sugar producer, COSUCRA now pioneers healthy ingredients derived from local chicory and peas for the growing clean label and healthy food market. Its portfolio offers naturally sourced ingredients, including pea protein and chicory fiber, that the company claims have nutritional boosting capacities, improving product profiles. Sofiprotéol, Wallonie Entreprendre, and the Société Fédérale de Participations et d’Investissement (SFPIM) subscribed to the funding round and now join COSUCRA as minority shareholders. Transforming tomorrow’s food “We are delighted that such professional investors as Sofiprotéol, Wallonie Entreprendre, …


Paleo founders

© Paleo

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Paleo Considers Legal Action Against Vow Regarding the Mammoth Meatball

Belgian precision fermentation firm Paleo announces it is considering legal action against Vow, an Australian cultivated meat company, for claiming that mammoth myoglobin protein is Vow’s invention, “while knowing that the technology (mammoth myoglobin) was already developed two years ago by Paleo, with patent applications ongoing.” Paleo develops animal-free heme proteins as ingredients for the alt meat sector. It focuses on producing myoglobin, a heme protein found in animal muscles. In July 2022,  the company released six new non-GM proteins: chicken, beef, pork, lamb, and tuna proteins and new variations of its mammoth protein, as part of the species extinct in the wild. “Our breakthrough in creating myoglobin for mammoth – and also beef, lamb, tuna, chicken, and pork — was significant and took hard work to bring about,” states …


Peace of Meat's cultivated poultry

© Peace of Meat

Company News

Peace of Meat Refocuses Resources Ahead of Cultivated Avian Product Launch in Singapore 

As part of its plan to launch a cultivated avian product onto the Singaporean market, Israeli 3D-printed cultivated meat company Steakholder Foods has announced a strategic restructuring of its Belgian subsidiary, Peace of Meat (PoM). The changes are designed to streamline PoM’s operations and position it for success. “Today’s announcement is an important step in our efforts to successfully launch a product in the Singaporean market,” said Arik Kaufman, Steakholder Foods’ CEO. Refocusing resources PoM’s 2023 business plan will focus on regulatory submissions for its avian product. This includes submitting to the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) by the end of the year and preparing for submission in the USA. To speed up production, PoM will outsource production to a third-party plant, thus eliminating the need to …


Paleo's animal-free heme proteins for plant-based foods

© Paleo

Investments & Finance

Paleo Raises €12M to Produce Animal-Free Heme for “Real Taste” Plant-Based Foods

Brussels-based precision fermentation firm Paleo, which aims to be a functional ingredient supplier for the alt protein sector, has raised €12 million in a Series A funding round to scale up the production of animal-free heme proteins and help manufacturers bring the “real taste” of meat to plant-based foods. Paleo focuses on producing myoglobin, a heme protein found in animal muscles that, when added to plant-based alternatives as an ingredient, replicates meat’s colour, smell, taste, and aromatic experience, providing iron and thus an increased nutritional value.  DSM Venturing and Planet A Ventures led the investment round, joined by Gimv, SFPIM Relaunch, Beyond Impact, and Siddhi Capital. GM-free heme proteins The Belgian food tech claims to be the first company to produce bioidentical GMO-free heme proteins of …


white couverture

© Belcolade

Sweets & Snacks

Belcolade Launches “Market First” Plant-Based White Couverture

Belgian chocolate producer Belcolade — part of the Puratos group — has launched what it claims is the first ever plant-based white couverture. Couverture is a type of chocolate containing more cocoa butter than eating or baking chocolate. It is typically used for applications such as coating, dipping, and moulding. Aimed at professionals who work with chocolate, Belcolade’s couverture is designed to have a rich and creamy texture and a firm “snap”. Unlike many plant-based chocolate products, the couverture is free of allergens such as soy and coconut. It follows the widely acclaimed vegan milk chocolate launched by the company in 2021. “Unique innovation” The new couverture has been developed in response to rising consumer demand for dairy-free chocolate; market reports suggest that the worldwide …


Delhaize burger


Studies & Numbers

Meat Consumption in Belgium: 11% of Belgians Are Non Meat-Eaters & 31% Flexitarian

Last week, the Belgian Association for Research and Expertise for Consumer Organisations published a survey studying the trends and habits around meat consumption in Belgium, revealing that 11 % of Belgians identify as non-meat eaters. In Belgium, meat is traditionally part of the daily diet. In 2020, Belgians ate an average of 82 kg of meat per year, double the global average (OECD-FAO, 2021). 89% of this came from four sources: pork, beef, veal, and poultry (Statbel, 2021). “We wondered whether Belgian consumers are ready to adjust their protein consumption to a more sustainable pattern; to consume less animal protein and more often consume alternative proteins,” said the study’s authors. The survey revealed a twofold scenario. Firstly, most consumers (56-65%) intend to keep their meat consumption …


L'Osteria pizza Bristol

© L'Osteria Bristol

Company News

McWin Acquires Majority Stake in L’Osteria for Almost 400 Million Euros

McWin, a private investment firm specialising in foodservice and food technology, recently announced the acquisition of a majority stake in L’Osteria, the leading casual dining operator in Germany and Austria. The chain currently operates 157 locations in eight countries, with over 6,000 employees in the DACH region, the UK, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.  The transaction is valued at nearly €400 million. The founders Klaus Rader and Friedemann Findeis will both remain minority shareholders in the company. The new partnership with McWin will further support and accelerate the group’s expansion both in Germany and in numerous new and existing markets across Europe. L’Osteria and plant-based The chain has a wide vegan offering. Its pizza dough is vegan, and for this Veganuary, it …


an animal-free fresh cheese made with microbial caseins on a wooden board with nuts and rosemary.

© Those Vegan Cowboys


Those Vegan Cowboys Unveils its First Cheese Made with Microbial Caseins

Those Vegan Cowboys, a Belgian food tech developing animal-free dairy, announces the successful development of its first animal-free product. The company claims it crafted a small cheese using dairy-identical caseins obtained via its precision fermentation process. The company explains that caseins are milk proteins not found anywhere else in nature but in mammals that provide cheese with its unique qualities.   It is real, and it is here Will van der Tweel, the food tech’s lab chief, said: “It has some ripening to do. But it is real, and it is here. It is comparable to ordinary cheese. And yet it is completely free from animal products. With this cheese, recreating any kind of cow’s milk cheese is now possible.” Microbial caseins will revolutionise the dairy …


MEURENS NATURAL at award ceremony


Company News

Meurens Natural Voted Entrepreneur of the Year 2022

Meurens Natural, a Belgian producer of cereal syrups, has been awarded the 2022 Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 award; a competition organized by Ernst & Young which gathers a team of experts from the economic and academic world. The company supplies unrefined organic and natural ingredients to the food industry, namely the cereal extracts Sipal® (organic) and Natu® (natural), which are utilised in the production of a range of products including plant-based drinks and yogurts, biscuits, muesli, chocolates, ice creams, and sports products. Meurens Natural currently operates two production sites, employing 85 people, reporting a turnover of €65 million in 2021 and achieving average annual growth of 24% over the past 5 years. Its production process, based on the hydrolysis of cereals, is unique and …



© VeCollal

Cosmetics & Bodycare

VeCollal Launches Vegan Collagen With Same Amino Acid Profile as Human Collagen

Belgian startup VeCollal has developed a “revolutionary” vegan alternative to animal collagen supplements for use in nutraceuticals, beauty products, and functional foods. Collagen is normally animal-derived, but this makes it unsuitable for vegans and can sometimes cause allergies — particularly when it comes to marine collagen. Animal collagen also has a different amino acid profile to that found in humans, whereas VeCollal exactly matches the human collagen profile. The collagen alternative has already been used by UK supplement brand Feel, which is endorsed by former Girls Aloud singer Cheryl. Another brand, Revive Collagen, has used VeCollal to produce what is claimed to be the world’s first liquid vegan collagen. Despite having been launched less than 12 months ago, VeCollal has already seen significant growth and …


LoveChock 2 packs

© Lovechock

Investments & Acquisitions

Amsterdam’s Lovechock Set to Expand Operations With New Belgian Owner

Lovechock, a Netherlands producer of raw vegan chocolate products, announces it has been acquired by Belgian family-owned company Pauwels Engineering NV, in order to “strengthen the company’s vision for the future”. Pauwels Engineering NV is a holding company for, among others, The Belgian Chocolate Group NV, which recently invested in a 100% vegan chocolate production facility in Croatia. This state-of-the-art machinery will enable Lovechock to produce new plant-based confectionery products. Pauwels Engineering NV will take over 100% of Lovechock BV, but states that it continues to rely on the structure of the Dutch brand, and as such, Lovechock will remain 100% independent and based in Amsterdam. However, changes will take place in terms of production: the production site in Heerhugowaard, NL, is to close, and …


bags of plant-based chocolate NXT

© Callebaut

Products & Launches

Callebaut’s Plant-Based Chocolate NXT for Chefs and Artisans Arrives in Saudi Arabia

Callebaut, the Belgian gourmet chocolate division of The Barry Callebaut Group, recently launched its plant-based chocolate ‘Callebaut NXT’ in Saudi Arabia. NXT is a 100% plant-based, dark and ‘milk’ chocolate line specially curated for chefs and artisans. According to research by Barry Callebaut, plant-based chocolate is showing a rapid growth in interest, especially among young people. Across the Middle East, plant-based food demand is rising, including desserts which have tremendous importance in the food culture. Callebaut’s NXT has reinvented Belgian gourmet chocolate to make vegan, plant-based, allergen-free, and planet-friendly desserts and chocolates made worldwide. NXT chocolate creations in Riyadh As part of its market launch strategy in Saudi Arabia, Callebaut held an event at the Marriot Hotel in Riyadh to demonstrate NXT’s wide range of possibilities. …



Meurens Natural: “We Were the First to Produce Oat Syrups That Can Be Used to Produce Oat Drinks”

Meurens Natural, a Belgian company specialized in clean label extracts made from oat and other cereals, offers organic ingredients for plant-based products and therefore has developed a range of high protein brands. Tim Van de Gehuchte, International Sales & Marketing Manager at Meurens Natural, talks about possible applications and how they contribute to a healthy and sustainable way of life. Who is Meurens Natural, and what does the company stand for? Meurens Natural is a family-owned Belgian company that processes cereals and dried fruits into organic and natural ingredients for the food processing sector. Meurens Natural has been a pioneer in the organic sector with the Sipal® brand, for over 30 years. Throughout the years, we have developed a unique production know-how that is 100% …


Steakholder Foods beef morsels

©Steakholder Foods

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Steakholder Foods Introduces “Revolutionary” Omakase Beef Morsels

Steakholder Foods Ltd., which rebranded from MeaTech 3D last month, introduces Omakase Beef Morsels, which it refers to as a “revolutionary, richly marbled structured meat product developed using a unique 3D-printing process”. Headquartered in Rehovot, Israel and Antwerp, Belgium; Steakholder has recently expanded activities to the US. The company is developing slaughter-free beef, chicken, pork, and seafood products — both as raw materials and whole cuts — with the newest development Omakase Beef Morsels inspired by the marbling standard of Wagyu beef. The company announced two weeks ago it is to begin the development of cultured pork products using a new line of porcine stem cells. The company’s technology can print the product at scale to include the marbling that Wagyu beef is famous for, …


vegan bouillon cubes

© Veggiebel

Products & Launches

Veggiebel Introduces Organic & Vegan Bouillon Cubes

Veggiebel, a Belgian producer of bouillon powder products, has announced the launch of its first range of organic and vegan bouillon cubes. V-Cubes range In 2021, founder and butcher’s son Pascal Depuydt started developing the bouillon cubes. The company is now offering four different cubes in a six-pack for retail with flavours including Chicken, Beef, Fish, and Pad Thai. According to the company, one cube should be dissolved in half a litre of boiling water. Depuydt says the V-Cubes range was designed to meet consumers’ needs by offering a versatile product that can be used like a regular bouillon cube in different dishes. The products are claimed to be free from gluten, allergens, soy, yeast, palm oil, sugar, and glutamate. They are non-GMO and use …


Belgium's Bolder Foods

© Bolder Foods

Cheese Alternatives

Belgium’s Bolder Foods Launches Cauliflower-Based Cheese at Delhaize

Belgium’s Bolder Foods has announced that its plant-based cheese alternative, Chizou, is launching at 140 Delhaize stores across the country. Made from locally-sourced cauliflower and chickpea protein, the “deliciously creamy” cheese is sold grated in three varieties — Pasta, Pizza, and Tex Mex. Bolder Foods said it chose cauliflower as a key ingredient because it is “naturally nutritious, a melting masterpiece, and the perfect plant for absorbing our delicious natural flavours”. Founders Ilana Taub and Michael Minch-Dixon launched their first venture nine years ago, a snack brand designed to fight food waste. Now, they have shifted their focus to alt-dairy. Though Bolder Foods is starting out with plant-based cheese alternatives, the company says it is also working on non-dairy cheeses made using biomass fermentation. “We’re …


Davai Dumplings team

© Davai Dumplings

Startups, Accelerators & Incubators

Ter Beke Invests Half a Million Euros in Davai Dumplings

Davai Dumplings of Belgium announces it has entered into a strategic partnership with food group Ter Beke. The deal involves an investment of more than 500,000 euros for the young brand’s frozen vegan dumplings. Davai reports to vegconomist that Ter Beke is looking to diversify its portfolio and move into plant-based and the news represents the group’s first ever startup investment. Success for the young founders The Ghent-based startup was founded in 2016 by then students Ruslan Podgaetskiy and Maybritt Devriese who will receive half a million euros for the Ghent vegan dumplings. Ter Beke will provide assistance in the marketing, distribution and internationalization of the Davai brand. According to the startup, the collaboration symbolizes an investment in making the food sector more sustainable. The …


Burger King

© Burger King

Fast Food

Burger King Belgium Says One in Three Whoppers Sold is Meat-Free

Has Burger King become the European fast-food leader in terms of veggie offerings? That’s what a new Burger King statistic leads us to believe, according to which one in three Whopper burgers sold in Belgium is vegetarian. A few weeks ago, the Foodservicealliance platform spoke to Vic Dresen, Marketing Manager of Burger King Belgium and Luxembourg, who made some revelations about the sales of vegetarian products: “About one in three Whoppers sold is vegetarian. For nuggets – launched last year – the figure is one in eight portions. We see big differences between restaurants. There are restaurants where only one in thirty Whoppers is vegetarian, and these are mainly the restaurants on the outskirts and the Drive restaurants where many more families come. But in …