On Friday the 1st of March, we celebrated the official opening of the Sustainable Protein Innovation & Test Centre (SPRINT) at NIZO. This day marked the successful completion of a two-year project, with NIZO investing 5 million, supported by the European Union. NIZO has now the one and only combination of expertise and food-grade scaling up facilities for dairy and meat analogues without compromise.

Grand Opening

We can look back at a very successful day where the latest technology & equipment was showcased . Almost 100 delegates visited this opening day and were guided through our new toolbox for meat and dairy alternatives development, from protein extraction to sensory analysis.

New equipment

We have added new equipment like:

  • A bead mill and homogenizer to extract proteins efficiently;
  • an ultrafiltration system to concentrate and purify proteins;
  • a nanofiltration setup to eliminate salts;
  • an extruder;
  • a spray dryer;
  • and an automated cleaning system to uphold high hygiene standards.

Additionally, we have on-site access to high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) for protein, peptide, and non-volatile analysis, helping us understand how processing affects protein composition, functionality, and taste.

Furthermore, our sensory labs at NIZO allow expert panels to assess various food ingredients using techniques like preference mapping, predictive modeling, and sensory screening to provide comprehensive evaluations.


In response to the Covid-19 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.

The SPRINT project addresses the challenges of sustainable food production and meets the growing demands of food companies for food-grade scale facilities. To achieve the sustainability goal in food production, a crucial step involves transitioning 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 technologies 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.

During this period, although NIZO Food Research has a well-equipped pilot plant, it was mainly suitable for processing milk and other liquids with well-dissolved or dispersed components. Over the 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.

Any questions?

Ben van der Deen is happy to answer all your questions.

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