Dutch Town Launches Pilot Program Encouraging Residents to Choose Plant-Based Proteins

The Dutch town of Altena has become the first in the Netherlands to launch a pilot program encouraging locals to eat more plant-based proteins.

The program is a collaboration between the Green Protein Alliance (GPA), its members, the Municipality of Altena, the Province of Noord-Brabant, and Wageningen University. In particular, Schouten Europe — a plant-based meat brand and GPA member — is heavily involved.

Plant-based together

As part of the pilot, interventions will take place at schools, supermarkets, and restaurants under the slogan “Plant-based together”. These interventions will include tasting sessions for plant-based products. Local ambassadors — such as Olympic beach volleyball player Raïsa Schoon — are helping to raise awareness of the program.

Currently, 61% of the protein consumed in the Netherlands is animal-based, but the GPA aims to reduce this to 50% by 2025. To measure progress in Altena, the organisation will monitor data such as sales of plant-based foods at supermarkets, helping to establish whether the program is making a difference.

© Green Protein Alliance

Dutch support for alt proteins

The Netherlands is notable for its progressive approach to alt proteins. Last year, the Dutch government earmarked €60 million to be invested in cellular agriculture, believed to be the largest sum of public funding ever granted to the industry worldwide. The news came shortly after the country legalised tastings of cultivated meat.

In March 2022, leading Dutch supermarket Albert Heijn announced its aim to make 60% of consumed proteins plant-based by 2030. To this end, the supermarket began expanding its vegan range and cutting prices to match or undercut animal products. The previous year, a study found that 70% of Dutch people were in favour of government intervention to reduce meat consumption.

“Tasting that plant-based food can be delicious is the best way to convince people,” said Marianne Karstens of the Green Protein Alliance. “This is why we are organizing several tasting sessions together with supermarket entrepreneurs from the region.”

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