WAGENINGEN/EDE (NL), 6 October 2021 – Today, NIZO, a Contract Research Organisation in Food and Health, and StartLife, the Dutch agrifoodtech accelerator, announced that they have entered into a strategic and operational partnership to support food and agtech start-ups shaping a sustainable food system. Thanks to a blend of accelerator expertise and facilities, the strategic partnership can help start-ups with both individual challenges and longer-term plans.
A food revolution
People are increasingly looking for food choices with demonstrable health benefits that don’t unduly harm our People are increasingly looking for food choices with demonstrable health benefits that don’t unduly harm our planet. For many, that means turning more to plant-based foods – the so-called protein transition. Yet fast-paced modern lifestyles mean that they still want food to be quick, simple and convenient. Both for start-ups as well as existing manufacturers, there is growing commercial pressure to show they are minimizing their environmental footprint by reducing energy consumption, water usage and (packaging) waste. But amid all this change, one fact of food production remains constant. If it doesn’t have the right look, (mouth)feel and, above all, taste – it won’t sell. This is where the partnership between StartLife and NIZO comes in. Together, they provide start-ups with promising solutions, and the facilities and services needed to get their products market-ready.
Leading innovation from laboratory to large scale production
Loet Rammelsberg, Program Director StartLife: “StartLife believes that start-ups are a very important force behind the agrifoodtech innovations required to meet global food demand in the future. But bringing an innovative food product from a small lab scale to large scale production is not an easy feat. Once a technology proves successful on a small scale, the technical feasibility and economic viability of large-scale production also need to be verified . And if it is, what is the best way to do it? Together with NIZO, we can help start-ups find answers to these critical questions.” NIZO helps food and health start-ups innovate to meet changing consumer demands in food and health. Their multidisciplinary development and pilot production plant enables their customers to quickly and successfully bring new food products to market.
NIZO and StartLife: End-to-end support
InIn the past ten years, StartLife has provided business development support and funding to more than 400 early-stage start-ups, propelling breakthrough technologies in the domains of food and agriculture. “With the largest pilot plant in Europe for third-party use and suitable for food-grade processes at close distance to StartLife, we are really pleased to have entered into a strategic partnership with NIZO,” says Rammelsberg. Ben van der Deen, Business Development Manager NIZO feels the same way. “A holistic view is something that we at NIZO specialise in. We have the expertise to support start-ups throughout the entire process of bringing a new food products to market. The combination of StartLife’s business development support and NIZO’s expertise in getting from R&D to market introduction ensures that start-up have all the know-how available to save time and money in food innovation. This ensures that all levels of innovation are science-based and fully verified to meet fast market introduction.”
Proof of the pudding
Corjan van den Berg, CEO and co-founder of FUMI Ingredients, a young Wageningen University of Research spin-off company, already benefits from this new partnership. He explains: “In previous years, we successfully developed a proof-of-concept technology that allows animal-based ingredients to be replaced with a high-quality alternative made from brewery yeast residuals.”
With animal-based proteins currently being the most important ingredient in food products, this plant-based technology may replace the need for a large amount of animals, reduce food waste and lower carbon dioxide emissions by 95 percent. “StartLife helped us build a strong business case. And now, with the support of NIZO, we are further developing and upscaling the technology to a large-scale pilot. And the results are looking really promising.”
Van der Deen: “It is a pleasure working with Corjan and his team. We believe that their solution has huge potential and are fully committed to helping them succeed. Together with StartLife, we look forward to supporting more such promising start-ups and helping make a difference.”
Tomorrow’s global food supply challenges demand a radical approach to innovation in the food and agriculture sectors today. Due to their innovative capacity, StartLife believes that start-ups are the propelling force behind the agrifoodtech innovations required to meet global food demand in the future. StartLife has worked with start-ups for over ten years. Thus far, we have supported more than 400 start-ups that develop technological innovations in the domains of foodtech and agtech. Our mission is to accelerate agrifoodtech start-ups shaping a sustainable food system. For additional information, please visit: www.start-life.nl
Ben van der Deen is happy to answer all your questions.