Investing in pilot plant NIZO for making food production more sustainable

Op oost - EU


In response to the Covid pandemic, EU government leaders have decided to establish an “EU Next Generation” recovery program. Part of this is the REACT-EU program that is being implemented for the Dutch provinces Overijssel and Gelderland by the European subsidy program OP Oost 2014-2020. With this program, the EU is driving a green, digital and resilient recovery of the regional economy. The “Gedeputeerde Staten” (Provincial Executive) of Gelderland decided to grant a subsidy from the budget of this program to NIZO for the ‘Sustainable PRotein INnovation and Test centre (SPRINT)’ project.


Making food production more sustainable is one of the major challenges . An important pillar in this is the transition from animal to vegetable raw materials or other renewable raw materials. Examples include yeasts, moulds, algae and bacteria grown on residual flows and the fullest possible use of these raw materials for human consumption.


In recent years, various start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs have developed technology on a lab scale for sustainable ingredients for use in food. However, they lack food-grade testing and scale-up facilities and rely on accessible, affordable, and food-grade third-party facilities. These are not sufficiently available in the region.


Although NIZO food research has a well-equipped pilot plant, it is currently mainly suitable for processing milk and other liquids with well-dissolved or dispersed components. In recent years, NIZO has built up a lot of knowledge for the processing of a wide variety of vegetable and microbial raw materials. However, for further process optimization and upscaling, an upgrade of existing equipment and the investment in new equipment is necessary.  


The aim of the REACT-EU subsidy for the SPRINT project is to be able to realize the necessary investments in the pilot plant of NIZO that gives innovative start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs the opportunity to develop new ideas and test, demonstrate and manufacture products in an accessible way. NIZO works closely with many start-ups and other companies in the region and beyond. 


NIZO works closely with many start-ups and other companies in the region and beyond. A user group will be set up in that light. NIZO also works closely with other parties in the ecosystem, such as Foodvalley NL, BraveNewFood, StartLife, Rabobank, Region FoodValley, Sustainable Food Initiative, Hogescholen (HAS, VHL) and WUR.

With the subsidy granted, NIZO, in collaboration with the companies and other stakeholders, can make a huge impact in making food production more sustainable and thus ensure a resilient recovery of the economy in the east of the Netherlands”.

Nikolaas Vles, CEO NIZO

Part-funded as part of the Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Europesche unie

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