PLNT plant-based lamb strips

© PLNT

Products & Launches

PLNT to Showcase New Plant-Based Lamb Strips and Chicken Sausages at Alimentaria

PLNT, a plant-based meat brand owned by Dutch protein producer Jan Zandbergen, has developed two new products — plant-based lamb strips and chicken-style sausages. The lamb strips are made from pea, wheat, and soy protein, and are said to be ideal in an Indian curry or as a topping on naan bread. They can be prepared in three to four minutes, and feature an open structure to capture seasonings and sauces. The sausages are made with rice and soy protein, replicating the texture and flavour of traditional chicken sausages. They are said to be especially suitable for the food service industry. Both products will be presented at Alimentaria, a food industry trade show taking place in Barcelona from March 18-24. Targeting meat-eaters Jan Zandbergen began …

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Vegan Zeastar plant-based seafood pop-up

© Vegan Zeastar

Food Service

Vegan Zeastar Opens Pop-Up Plant-Based Seafood Restaurant in The Hague

Dutch plant-based seafood brand Vegan Zeastar, owned by Vegan Finest Foods, is opening its first-ever pop-up restaurant. The restaurant will be located at Zèta, a vegan cafe at Grote Markt in The Hague, from March 5-10. The menu will feature a range of dishes showcasing Vegan Zeastar’s extensive product range, which includes Sashimi, King No Crab, Shrimpz, and King No Crab Cakes. The meals will be prepared by Zèta’s chefs. The pop-up is for “everyone who wants to try something different, whether it is for the experience, for your health, for the environment, or for the animals”. Those interested in attending can now book a table. “We are excited to host our first pop-up restaurant at Zèta,” said Rosella D’angeli, co-founder of Vegan Zeastar. “This …

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Company News

Meatable Appoints Industry Execs to Board of Directors, Ramps up for 2024 Market Launch

Netherlands-based cultivated pork producer Meatable announces the appointments of Lorne Abony and Patricia Malarkey to its Board of Directors. The Duch startup utilises pluripotent stem cells with patented opti-ox™ technology, enabling cells to multiply and differentiate into mature muscle and fat cells. Meatable says that this technology allows cells to be differentiated in just 8 days and claims this is the fastest process in the world. After raising $35M in August last year, Meatable went on to inaugurate a new pilot facility to expand the production capacity of its cultivated pork platform, and this January announced it had submitted a dossier to hold the country’s first legally sanctioned cultivated meat tasting. An exciting juncture Says Krijn de Nood, co-founder and CEO, “Meatable is at an …

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Plant-based diets can free up land for bioenergy and carbon capture

Image: Unsplash

Sustainability / Environment

Plant-Based Diets Could Free Up Enough Land for Bioenergy and Carbon Capture

A study by researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands has calculated that if the world transitioned to a more plant-based diet, enough land could be freed up to make Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) a viable option. Bioenergy (using crops to generate energy) has long been considered a way to address climate change, since crops take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere when they grow. It has been suggested that when the crops are used to produce energy, the resulting carbon dioxide could be permanently stored underground; in this way, the process of generating energy could actually reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. However, bioenergy has been criticized as it requires large areas of land and a lot of …

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Vivici whey protein

© Vivici

Protein

Vivici Launches Nature-Identical Whey Protein Made Using Fermentation

Vivici, a Netherlands-based producer of animal-free dairy proteins, has commercially launched its nature-identical whey protein made using precision fermentation. The protein is an isolate of beta-lactoglobulin, the major whey protein in cow’s milk. It contains all amino acids required by the human body and has high levels of leucine and branched-chain amino acids. The protein is also free of lactose, cholesterol, hormones, and antibiotics, and is said to be rapidly absorbed in blood plasma. In the US, the product has self-affirmed GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status. It provides a more sustainable alternative to conventional whey protein, with a neutral color and taste ideal for use in protein beverages, powders, and bars. “Nutritionally, Vivici’s beta-lactoglobulin isolate is superior to plant protein isolates, even outperforming whey …

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A chicken alternative made with ABUNDA

© ENOUGH

Fermentation

UK Mycoprotein Startup ENOUGH Signs Commercial Deal with Cargill

Food tech company ENOUGH announces that it has extended its partnership with agribusiness giant Cargill. Through the deal, Cargill is to sign a commercial agreement to use and market ENOUGH’S mycoprotein ingredient ABUNDA and to invest in its recent Series C round. ABUNDA is described as a highly versatile ingredient that provides all nine essential amino acids and dietary fiber. It is said to have a neutral taste, making it highly versatile in multiple applications. ENOUGH leverages biomass fermentation to produce its signature product at a large scale. The protein is grown by feeding fungi renewable feedstocks to make a sustainable food protein source.  Upscaling in Europe ENOUGH states that its collaboration with Cargill, “benefiting from its global footprint and feedstock technology expertise,” will allow it to …

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Marc Coloma, CEO and co-founder of Heura Foods at the Heura Lab

Marc Coloma, CEO and co-founder of Heura Foods at the Heura Lab, image supplied

Company News

Following €40M Investment, Upfield & Heura Reveal Plans to Fast-Track Innovation in Plant-Based Foods  

Last week, Spain’s Heura announced it had secured €40 million in what it claimed to be the largest plant-based financing round of 2023. The investors in the Series B round are to form a strategic coalition aiming to fast-track innovation in plant-based foods. Heura and Upfield today explain what this will entail. The work between Heura and Upfield aims to rapidly accelerate the protein transition towards a sustainable food system. Aside from the animal suffering and environmental damage caused by animal agriculture, one of the problems in our food system is its inefficiencies: plant-based crops feed more people while occupying less land. Today, plant-based food occupies only 23% of global agricultural land, yet provides 82% of our calories[1]. Data shows that cutting meat and dairy …

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Schouten Europe and Agrifirm announce collaboration

© Schouten/Agrifirm

Company News

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. 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. …

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mother with daughter in supermarket

Image courtesy ProVeg International

Retail & E-Commerce

At Six Out of Seven Dutch Supermarkets Plant-Based Alternatives Are Cheaper Than Animal Products, Study Finds

Recent research by think tank Questionmark on behalf of ProVeg International has revealed that some plant-based products are now more affordable than their animal counterparts in six supermarkets out of the seven major Dutch retailers. The research compared prices of 12 standard products, including vegetarian meatballs, plant-based cheese, and yogurt, at supermarkets Albert Heijn, Aldi, Dirk, Jumbo, Lidl, Plus, and Ekoplaza. The results show that in nearly every case, the cheapest plant-based option was even more affordable than the most economical animal-based counterpart.  Up to 20% less At supermarket Ekoplaza, the savings on a shopping basket including vegetarian meatballs, plant-based butter, and vegetarian shawarma can be as high as €9.66, amounting to a 20% discount.  Jumbo and Lidl also offer attractive prices, with plant-based options being €3.89 and …

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Lars Langhout, founder of No Palm Ingredients

Lars Langhout, founder of No Palm Ingredients, image supplied

Interviews

NoPalm Ingredients: “Our Oils and Fats Have a Dramatically Lower Impact on Nature, Climate and Biodiversity”

Based in Wageningen, Netherlands, NoPalm Ingredients “brews” tailor-made fermented oils and fats. These serve as high-quality, sustainable, local, and circular alternatives to palm oil in food, cosmetics, and detergent products. Lars Langhout (MBA) is the co-founder and CEO of NoPalm Ingredients. He founded NoPalm Ingredients together with Prof. Dr. Jeroen Hugenholtz (CTO) in 2022. Can you share some of the key challenges and highlights NoPalm Ingredients faced in 2023, particularly in the context of scaling up your production of sustainable palm oil alternatives? As with most startups, the key challenge has been raising money to scale up. The investment climate for sustainable, circular start-ups deteriorated over the past two years. At the same time, it is a process we have learned a lot from, and …

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amsterdam

©iamsterdam.com

Charity & Campaigns

Amsterdam Becomes First EU Capital to Endorse Global Plant Based Treaty

Amsterdam has become the first capital city in the EU to endorse calls for a global Plant Based Treaty, which proposes addressing the impact of the food system on climate change by shifting towards a more plant-based diet. In a statement, the City of Amsterdam Council acknowledged that the food system has “a significant impact on the health of people and animals and contributes to the climate crisis”. It has set out plans to shift the protein ratio in the city’s diet from 40 to 60 percent plant-based by 2030, saying that the municipality “takes responsibility to drive changes in the food system, ensuring that all residents of Amsterdam have access to healthy, fair, sustainable, and affordable food and drinks”. The council has also adopted …

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Meatable's co-founders

Meatable's co-founders Daan Luining (R) and Krijn de Noo - Image courtesy of Meatable

Cultivated Meat

Meatable Prepares for First Cultivated Pork Tasting in the Netherlands, Mosa Meat to Follow with Cultivated Beef 

Dutch cultivated pork company Meatable announces that it has submitted a dossier to hold the country’s first legally sanctioned cultivated meat tasting. As soon as the experts give the green light, Meatable will host the first-ever tasting of its cultivated pork products. Only last November, the company opened a new pilot facility to expand the production ahead of a cultivated pork launch poised for 2024.  Krijn de Nood, co-founder and CEO at Meatable, said: “We can’t wait to invite people to try our delicious pork sausages and experience for themselves that it doesn’t just look and taste like meat, it is meat.” The first EU tastings of cultivated beef The news follows the recent launch of an independent Expert Committee by Cellular Agriculture Netherlands (CANS) on behalf …

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plantrecote raw version ME-AT

Plantrecote raw version © ME-AT

Agriculture / Agribusiness

Vion Food Group Sells Slaughterhouses, Pre-Packing Meat Facility, and Ham Brand in Germany to Address Market Challenges

The Netherlands-based Vion Food Group, a global player in the meat and plant-based alternatives industry, has announced downsizing measures for its German portfolio in 2024.  As part of these changes, Vion has agreed to sell key facilities, including its beef slaughterhouse and pre-packing facility in Altenburg, as well as the ham specialist Ahlener Fleischhandel, to Tönnies Group. Uhlen GmbH will also acquire the company’s pig slaughterhouse in Perleberg. In addition, Vion will close its Emstek pig facility by the end of March 2024 after waiting to receive acceptable offers from potential buyers. As reported by the firm, the broader European meat industry, with Germany at its core, faces intense global competition from the USA, South America, and China. These challenges have been further exacerbated by the outbreak …

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A sandwich made with a jackfruit filler

© Fiber Foods

Investments & Finance

Uganda’s Fiber Foods Secures Investment for Jackfruit Ingredient for Meat Alternatives

Uganda’s Fiber Foods, a pioneer of jackfruit for meat alternatives for food service, has received an undisclosed investment from FoodSparks, a fund for agrifood tech startups launched by PeakBridge and EIT Food, one of the largest agrifood innovation ecosystem. Fiber Foods is a women-led business founded in 2020 by Inez van Oord and Ineke Aquarius, with support from the Netherlands Embassy, to create a scalable, gender-friendly value chain for a jackfruit ingredient. The company was established as a trade support organization to create economic (fair wages), social, and sustainable value for all stakeholders, positioning itself as an “impact first” organization. It works with family farmers in East Africa to harvest, produce, and distribute dehydrated jackfruit, marketed as PrimeJack, from regional hubs. The Dutch company Team Tastemakers provided technical guidance …

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IFF, Unilever and WUR address flavor challenges associated with alt meats

© IFF

Science

IFF Partners With Unilever and Wageningen University to Address Alt Meat Flavor Challenges

International flavor and fragrance producer IFF has announced it will be collaborating with Unilever and the Netherlands’ Wageningen University and Research (WUR) to address flavor challenges associated with plant-based meat. Plant-based proteins can sometimes have beany or bitter off-notes, which manufacturers of meat alternatives usually mask with other flavors. However, this may result in undesirable aroma characteristics. As part of a four-year project, IFF and Unilever will explore how flavors bind to protein molecules, with the aim of developing new flavoring strategies to improve the sensory qualities of meat alternatives. “Our mission is to understand and improve flavor quality in plant-based meat alternatives by unravelling the intricacies of protein interactions, to investigate flavor loss and elevate the overall flavor profile,” said Neil Da Costa, lead …

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Hugo Verkuil of The Vegetarian Butcher

Hugo Verkuil. © The Vegetarian Butcher

Interviews

The Vegetarian Butcher: “Our Mission Will Not Change, We Remain Committed to Releasing Animals From the Food Chain”

Founded 13 years ago in the Netherlands, alt meat producer The Vegetarian Butcher has since expanded into an international brand, seeing huge growth since it was acquired by Unilever in 2018. The Vegetarian Butcher’s success has partially been driven by its partnerships with major food service companies; the brand is Burger King’s main plant-based supplier, and has partnered with the chain to open meat-free Burger King locations worldwide. In the past year alone, The Vegetarian Butcher has launched plant-based butcher counters at Spanish supermarkets, developed a bacon alternative featuring new patented fat technology, and collaborated with a major döner producer to offer vegan kebab meat. The brand also marked its 13th anniversary with the opening of a plant-based butchery in Rotterdam. We spoke to Hugo …

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Garden Gourmet Voie Gras Nestle

© Garden Gourmet

Products & Launches

Nestlé’s Plant-Based Foie Gras Alternative, Voie Gras, Returns With a New Recipe

Nestlé has announced the re-release of Voie Gras, its plant-based alternative to foie gras, under its Garden Gourmet brand. Available to consumers in Belgium, Spain, and The Netherlands, the product previously gained popularity during its seasonal launch last year in Spain and Switzerland. Produced at Nestlé’s R&D centre in Singen, Germany, the recipe has been revamped by product developers and contains miso paste, sea salt, and a soy base, aiming to achieve the authentic texture and flavour of traditional foie gras. Marjolijn Niggebrugge, European Business Head of Plant-Based Meal Solutions at Nestlé, comments, “Garden Gourmet stands for food where taste feels good. Voie Gras is our testament to offering great-tasting seasonal options that cater to the growing demand for plant-based alternatives, balancing taste with environmental …

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© CIrfood

Food Service

Six More Dutch Corporate Caterers Commit to Selling 60% Plant Proteins by 2030

Dutch animal rights group Wakker Dier has announced it is partnering with six corporate caterers — Albron, Cirfood, Compass Group, Food&I, Holie Pizza, and Vermaat Group — to help them sell a higher proportion of plant proteins. As part of the collaboration, the companies are committing to three goals: Monitoring their protein sales, including the ratio of animal to plant proteins sold, from this year onwards. The results must be published publically at least annually. Selling at least 50% plant proteins by 2025, with no increase in total protein sales. By 2030, the target for plant protein sales will increase to 60%, again with no corresponding rise in total protein sales. Ten other Dutch caterers — Appèl, Cater Concept, Hospitalents, Hutten, Markies Catering, Rootz Kitchen, …

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The Vegetarian Butcher has introduced handmade holiday specials, including stuffed vegan Christmas turkey at its newly opened plant-based butchery in Rotterdam.

© The Vegetarian Butcher

Meat- and Fish Alternatives

The Vegetarian Butcher Launches Vegan Christmas Turkey in Rotterdam’s First Plant-Based Butchery

Unilever’s The Vegetarian Butcher has introduced handmade holiday specials, including stuffed vegan Christmas turkey at its newly opened plant-based butchery in Rotterdam. The brand’s team crafted 60 vegan whole turkeys (including vegetable legs) for lovers of traditional Christmas dishes. Interested customers had to purchase the turkey in person on a pre-order basis like in traditional butcher shops (the reservations closed on the 17th of December, and the product is unavailable at supermarkets), reports RTL Nieuws. However, before Christmas Eve, customers will receive their turkeys pre-sliced into fillets stuffed with a mixture of apricots and nuts rather than obtaining the entire roasted turkey. The Vegetarian Butcher’s team also prepared other limited-edition menu items for the holiday table: a vegan meatloaf that comes with a cherry ketchup glaze …

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Albert Heijn plant-based Christmas magazine

© Albert Heijn

Marketing & Media

Dutch Retailer Albert Heijn Promotes a Plant-Based Christmas With New Magazine

Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn is encouraging customers to try a plant-based Christmas with a special version of its magazine, Allerhande. The 24-page insert is included in the regular Christmas issue of Allerhande, providing a wide range of plant-based recipes for the festive season. It includes multiple dishes for every course, with options such as a beet tart, a vegan roast dinner, and chocolate mousse. Some of the recipes have been contributed by well-known figures such as Instagram influencer Judith van Willigen, actor and director Sanne Vogel, and illustrator Enzo Pérès-Labourdette. The magazine also provides suggestions for how Albert Heijn’s selection of meat and dairy alternatives could be used to make Christmas dishes. The supermarket chain launched its new own-brand plant-based line, AH Terra, in …

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