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2013 No. 2

Food Valley Update

News, features and trends Food Valley NL


TABLE OF CONTENTS

In this second

issue of Food Valley Update, we feature the views and ambitions of Sander van der Laan, COO at Ahold Europe and keynote speaker at this year’s Food Valley Expo. We investigate why applying for a health claim is so complex and report on new technology that accurately predicts perishables’ shelf-life, reducing food waste while guaranteeing top-quality produce. And this is just a small sample of what this issue has to offer. Enjoy! We look forward to seeing you at the Food Valley Expo on October 24. Roger van Hoesel, Managing Director, Food Valley NL

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Food Alliance is catalyst for change Over the past 7 years, the Gelderse Vallei Food Alliance has contributed to more than 60 practical initiatives and research projects related to nutrition and health. And, in cooperation with Food Valley NL and other partners, the Alliance has a lot more in store.

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Matchmaking in Sweden The Swedes are known for their packaging technology and innovative approach to food and catering. In September 2013, Dutch and Belgian companies joined the Sweden Food Tour organized by EFA (European Food Alliance) to see how they do it and to meet potential business partners.

Applying for health claims remains challenging For some companies that make nutrition claims such as ‘low-fat’ or ‘high-fibre’ on their food labels, it might also be worthwhile to invest in a health claim. Many of the complexities surrounding nutrition and health claims were clarified by a 2006 European Commission regulation, yet some issues are still unresolved today.

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A/S Einar Willumsen – Ad van Geloven – Adifo – Agrojobs – Agruniek Rijnvallei – AkzoNobel Functional Chemicals – Allfoodplaza.com – Alewijnse Industrie – AVEBE – Aviko – A-ware Food Group – Baltussen Konservenfabriek – Barentz Europe – BasidioFactory – Betagro Public Company limited – Bioactor – Biqualys, The Advanced Analysis Company – BLGG AgroXpertus – Bouwpaco Packaging Equipment – Broederij Verbeek – Buisman Ingredients – Bunge Limited – C4C Holding – Cargill R&D Centre Europe – Chainfood – Clean Light – CM Plastic – Codrico Rotterdam – Contined – CRV – CSK Food Enrichment – Danone Research – Denkavit Nederland – De Vries Nutrition Solutions – Dishman Netherlands – Docomar – Donny Craves – Dumocom – DUPP/Den Uijl Ploeg & Partners – Dutch Spices – Ecolab – EuroProxima – Extensor – Extract – Fagron Industry – Foodcase – FoodResult, marketingbased solutions – Foodstep – FrieslandCampina – FydroFire Baking Stones/Fydro – Genetwister Technologies – Givaudan Nederland – Groen Agro Control – Hospital Gelderse Vallei – H.J. Heinz – Imtech Food & Feed – Innova Market Insights – International Flavors & Fragrances – ISACert – IsoLife – IXL Netherlands – Kadans Biofacilities – Kaneka Corporation – Kennisinstituut Bier – Keygene – Kikkoman Foods Europe – LaVitella – Leloux, Science & Business – Mead Johnson Nutrition – Metabolon – MicCell Bioservices – Micreos – Mitr Phol – Nederlands Bakkerij Centrum NBC – Nederlandsch Octrooibureau – Newtricious – Nippon Suisan Europe R&D – NIZO food research – NSure – Nutreco N.V./Nutreco R&D – Nutri-akt – OMVE Netherlands – Ojah – P.G. Korver Transport – Philips Innovation Services – Pectcof – Phycom – Plantalogica – PNO Consultants – Provalor – Proviand – Puur Veltman – QBTEC – Royal VIV Buisman – Royal DSM – SanoRice – Scelta Mushrooms – Schuiteman Corporate Consultants – Schuttelaar & Partners – Shieltronics– Silliker – Sime Darby Unimills – Solynta – Sportcentrum Papendal – Struik Foods Europe – Suiker Unie – Syngenta Seeds – TailTec – TNO Triskelion – TOP – Unilever R&D – Van Eeghen Functional Ingredients – Veldhuyzen Kaas – Vermeulen/Coppen Design + Innovation – Vika – Vitablend – VMEngineering – VNO-NCW – WeLL Design – W&G Groep – Yama Products – Yummm! Concepts – Zeelandia H.J. Doeleman – Zetadec – ZON Fruit & Vegetables/Fresh Park Venlo

Experience the power of networking! Networking means making optimum use of your contacts. In the agro-food industry networking can lead to new knowledge, insights or business partners. The Food Valley Society is an excellent place to start.

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Holland Food Valley scores big @IFT13 At the 2013 IFT Food Expo in Chicago, the Holland Food Valley Pavilion was a big success. It was a collective focal point where many Dutch companies presented their innovations to industry professionals from all over the world.


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Spotlight on Innovations Dutch business and knowledge institutes are continually developing new packaging, research methods and concepts. We’ve put the spotlight on several of these innovations from the agrofood industry.

Meet, inspire, create at the Food Valley Expo Join us for national and international matchmaking, inspirational sessions, an update on agro-food trends and research, and much more. Here’s a glimpse of what’s happening on October 24.

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PagE 20

“Growth is a joint effort” Perishables and online sales are two of the areas where Albert Heijn is trying to improve. Sander van der Laan, CEO of the supermarket chain is ambitious: “We want to do better every day.”

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Foreign professionals in the Dutch food sector To maintain its innovative capacity, the Dutch agrofood industry also needs to attract highly educated professionals and new talent from abroad. We meet a Vietnamese student who became a Food Valley Ambassador and an Venezuelan food professional. PagE 34 Food Valley NL works for you Food Valley NL is a cluster organization that offers services to help businesses innovate. See what we can do for you.

New Technology for Monitoring Perishables Supermarkets are stocking more and more perishables, many of which are available year-round. A new technology which accurately predicts these products’ shelf-life can help to reduce food waste while guaranteeing top quality fresh produce.

Food Valley Update | 3


crossing borders

Matchmaking in Sweden The Swedes

are known for their packaging technology and innovative approach to food and catering. In September 2013, Dutch and Belgian companies joined the Sweden Food Tour organized by EFA (European Food Alliance) to meet potential business partners. The European Food Alliance (EFA) is a partnership of nine successful agro-food clusters from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK. Their goal is to offer agro-food companies services and network contacts from all over Europe to speed up the pace of innovation and growth. By working with the latest technologies and the best European food experts, companies can accelerate their innovation process.

Sweden visit at the 2012 Food Valley Expo and immediately decided to go along. “I was looking for Swedish companies interested in specialized, modular software for product development and ingredient management. We have some Swedish customers in feed, but so far none in food. I had some productive talks during the matchmaking sessions and I’m convinced there are plenty of opportunities here for us,” said Opsommer. FV The next EFA Food Tour goes to the UK and is scheduled for Spring 2014. For more information about this trip and general information about EFA, contact Annemarie Nulle, International Relations & Projects Manager at Food Valley NL, phone: +31-317 466 511, e-mail: annemarie.nulle@foodvalley.nl

In 2012, EFA organized its first Food Tour to Wallonia. This year, the field trip went to Sweden. Flemish and Dutch companies got a chance to be introduced to Swedish companies. They put out feelers about doing business together and other forms of cooperation.

‘A foot in the door’

One of the participants in the Sweden trip, Gaëlle van Elst, works for the Belgian firm Galactic, which produces lactic acid. “From a business perspective, every country is equally important to us, but we’ve noticed it can be hard to get a foot in the door at Swedish companies,” Van Elst said. “That’s why the matchmaking sessions during the Food Tour were ideal. My meetings with Pågen, an industrial bakery in Sweden, and Findus, went really well”, she added. Leading packaging company Tetra Pak also took part in the matchmaking sessions. “Our reason for being here is that we are open-minded,” said Tetra Pak’s Stefan Åkesson. “We’re interested in other people’s ideas and in innovations from the Netherlands and Belgium. Businesses that start working with new ingredients may also need new equipment and packaging. That’s where we can help.” Another participant was Henny Opsommer, who works for software developer Adifo. He found out about the

Johan Mårtenssons of Packbridge (Sweden) and Isabelle Grommet of WagrALIM (Wallonia).


Members of Food Valley NL

Experience the power of networking! Networking

means making optimum use of your contacts. It can open doors and lead to new knowledge, insights or business partners. The Food Valley Society is an excellent place to start. A growing number of agro-food and food-related businesses and organizations in the Netherlands and abroad participate in Food Valley NL by becoming members of the Food Valley Society. The Society is a network where ideas take root, where trends are translated into concrete plans and where the language of business is spoken. Several times a year, one member company offers the rest a peek behind the scenes of its own operation.

In December 2012, there were 121 Food Valley Society members. Bouwpaco Packaging (Barneveld), Bioactor (Maastricht) and CM Plastic (Dronten) are the most recent Dutch additions. Internationally, the latest organizations to join are Kaneka Corporation (Japan), Betagro Public Company Limited (Thailand), Mitr Phol Sugar Cooperation (Thailand) and A/S Einar Willumsen (Denmark). FV For more information about the Food Valley Society, please contact Saskia van Erkelens, saskia.vanerkelens@ foodvalley.nl

A/S Einar Willumsen – Ad van Geloven – Adifo – Agrojobs – Agruniek Rijnvallei – AkzoNobel Functional Chemicals – Allfoodplaza.com – Alewijnse Industrie – AVEBE – Aviko – A-ware Food Group – Baltussen Konservenfabriek – Barentz Europe – BasidioFactory – Betagro Public Company limited – Bioactor – Biqualys, The Advanced Analysis Company – BLGG AgroXpertus – Bouwpaco Packaging Equipment – Broederij Verbeek – Buisman Ingredients – Bunge Limited – C4C Holding – Cargill R&D Centre Europe – Chainfood – Clean Light – CM Plastic – Codrico Rotterdam – Contined – CRV – CSK Food Enrichment – Danone Research – Denkavit Nederland – De Vries Nutrition Solutions – Dishman Netherlands – Docomar – Donny Craves – Dumocom – DUPP/Den Uijl Ploeg & Partners – Dutch Spices – Ecolab – EuroProxima – Extensor – Extract – Fagron Industry – Foodcase – FoodResult, marketingbased solutions – Foodstep – FrieslandCampina – FydroFire Baking Stones/Fydro – Genetwister Technologies – Givaudan Nederland – Groen Agro Control – Hospital Gelderse Vallei – H.J. Heinz – Imtech Food & Feed – Innova Market Insights – International Flavors & Fragrances – ISACert – IsoLife – IXL Netherlands – Kadans Biofacilities – Kaneka Corporation – Kennisinstituut Bier – Keygene – Kikkoman Foods Europe – LaVitella – Leloux, Science & Business – Mead Johnson Nutrition – Metabolon – MicCell Bioservices – Micreos – Mitr Phol – Nederlands Bakkerij Centrum NBC – Nederlandsch Octrooibureau – Newtricious – Nippon Suisan Europe R&D – NIZO food research – NSure – Nutreco N.V./Nutreco R&D – Nutri-akt – OMVE Netherlands – Ojah – P.G. Korver Transport – Philips Innovation Services – Pectcof – Phycom – Plantalogica – PNO Consultants – Provalor – Proviand – Puur Veltman – QBTEC – Royal VIV Buisman – Royal DSM – SanoRice – Scelta Mushrooms – Schuiteman Corporate Consultants – Schuttelaar & Partners – Shieltronics– Silliker – Sime Darby Unimills – Solynta – Sportcentrum Papendal – Struik Foods Europe – Suiker Unie – Syngenta Seeds – TailTec – TNO Triskelion – TOP – Unilever R&D – Van Eeghen Functional Ingredients – Veldhuyzen Kaas – Vermeulen/Coppen Design + Innovation – Vika – Vitablend – VMEngineering – VNO-NCW – WeLL Design – W&G Groep – Yama Products – Yummm! Concepts – Zeelandia H.J. Doeleman – Zetadec – ZON Fruit & Vegetables/Fresh Park Venlo

Food Valley Update | 5


Catching Up with Diederic Klapwijk

Food Alliance is catalyst for change Over the past 7

years, the Gelderse Vallei Food Alliance has contributed to more than 60 practical initiatives and research projects related to nutrition and health. And, in cooperation with Food Valley NL and other partners, the Alliance has a lot more in store.

“Nutrition is too often overlooked by the medical profession. The Gelderse Vallei Food Alliance was set up specifically to change this.”

Diederic Klapwijk is a gynecologist at Gelderse Vallei Hospital and president of the Gelderse Vallei Food Alliance, a partnership linking Gelderse Vallei Hospital to Wageningen University’s Division of Human Nutrition. Since the Alliance was formed in 2007 it has made great strides in the field of patient nutrition. “Malnutrition is a huge problem,” Klapwijk said. “Between 25 and 40% of patients admitted to Dutch hospitals are undernourished. Therefore, the Food Alliance has developed a multi-agency screening tool for malnutrition. We offer practical tools to general practitioners, nursing home doctors and hospital staff so they can recognize the


‘At Your Request - Room Service Dining®, developed by the Food Alliance, allows patients to order freshly prepared food from an extensive menu when they feel like eating.

signs of malnutrition. The earlier you identify the problem, the easier it is to rectify it, both before and after a patient is admitted to hospital,” said Klapwijk. The Alliance also focuses on product development. “There are very few tasty products developed specifically with senior citizens in mind. One channel through which the Food Alliance works on this is ‘Cater with Care’. This project has generated several great products, such as highprotein bread and protein drinks.”

Intensify cooperation

Over the past 7 years, the Gelderse Vallei Food Alliance has contributed to more than 60 practical initiatives and research projects related to nutrition and health. The Food Alliance is also the catalyst for effectively communicating the importance of nutrition in health care. “And that covers just about anything, from the very young to the very old, from chronic diseases to acute problems, from intramural to extramural nutrition, and curative to preventive nutrition,” said Klapwijk.

“Our cooperation with Wageningen University and businesses in projects like ‘Cater with Care’ is going very smoothly. And we are looking to intensify our cooperation with Food Valley NL. We worked with them on the Nutrition, Sport and Health program, subsidized by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs in an ‘Innovation Performance Contract’ (IPC). But I see great potential for other types of collaboration in the future. Food Valley NL has a huge network that includes SMEs as well as multinationals. Working with those companies, we can test demand-driven innovations in the field of nutrition and health in a hospital environment. Wageningen’s division of Human Nutrition knows the state of the art and can use this knowledge to inspire businesses to innovate. We fully expect all sorts of new projects to get off the ground soon. And no doubt, this will lead to innovative nutritional concepts that can effectively improve people’s health.” FV

Food Valley Update | 7


INSIGHTS : Health claims

Applying for health claims remains challenging For some

companies that make nutrition claims such as ‘low-fat’ or ‘highfibre’ on their food labels, it might also be worthwhile to invest in a health claim. Many of the complexities surrounding nutrition and health claims were clarified by a 2006 European Commission regulation, yet some issues are still unresolved today.


Faced with a proliferation of health claims on foods, the European Commission adopted a regulation in 2006 to ensure that such claims would be clear, accurate and evidence-based. EC Regulation No. 1924/2006 created uniformity in the use of nutrition and health claims on foods within the EU, leaving no room for national differences. It also gave consumers clear information about products, ingredients and their effectiveness. Ever since the regulation’s enactment, food manufacturers have been permitted to use nutrition claims based on the ingredients a product contains, for example ‘low-fat’, ‘sugar free’ and ‘high-fiber’. Currently, there are 30 such recognized claims, a number that could climb if new nutritional claims meet EU standards and are added to the list. With regard to health claims, or the beneficial effects that products purport to have on consumers’ health, the regulation distinguished three types of claim: generic functional claims (known as Article 13 claims), reduction of disease risk claims (or Article 14 claims) and claims referring to children’s development and health (also Article 14). In 2012, the European Commission published a list of 222 authorized generic health claims. These claims are all based on generally accepted scientific knowledge, for example that calcium promotes bone density. “In the past, some products claimed a beneficial effect while they barely even contained the active ingredient,” said Christine Grit, Nutrition & Health Manager at the Dutch Food Industry Federation (Federatie Nederlandse Levensmiddelen Industrie; FNLI). “That was absurd and is now no longer possible.”

EFSA rules

Currently, any company that fully meets the conditions set by the European Commission can use a health claim from the authorized list. But according to Grit, it is much more difficult to get approval for health claims based on new scientific evidence (so-called Article 13.5 claims) and for claims on reducing the risk of certain diseases (‘cholesterol lowering’ for example), and for those referring to children’s development and health. Such claims must be submitted along with a dossier of scientific studies underpinning the claim. The dossier is then assessed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), an EU scientific advisory committee. “The 2006 regulation guarantees consumers that any health claim

Products bearing health claims on Dutch supermarket shelves.

on a food product is scientifically substantiated,” said Hans Verhagen, a member of the EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies. “And because it is a regulation, all member states must comply with it and adjust their national rules and regulations accordingly. It’s mandatory, not optional.” And this is a good thing, Verhagen added, “because any claim should be verifiable, should be based on generally accepted scientific evidence.” The FNLI’s Grit added that a health claim is only credible if the human body can absorb the ingredient the claim is focused on. “At one point, ” Grit said, “there was a lot of publicity about the possible antioxidant effects of polyphenols in cocoa. But we didn’t even know whether those polyphenols were present in a form that the human body could actually benefit from them, or whether they just entered and left the body without having any effect.”

Measuring health effects

In order for EFSA to assess health claims, the scientific results submitted have to meet certain standards. But the indicators EFSA considers useful for assessing health effects are debatable, Grit argued. “Bloodcholesterol levels and blood pressure are good indicators of risk factors for certain diseases. But the effects of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract are not nearly as clear-cut. EFSA’s choice to recognize ‘fewer pathogens’ as an indicator, but to exclude ‘more positive bacteria’ as an indicator is kind of arbitrary. It’s very hard to identify factors that indicate ‘increased health’ anyhow. It’s much easier to find indicators that signify ‘less sick’. Unfortunately, studies on sick people don’t qualify. But this makes it very difficult for companies to apply for a new claim,” Grit explained. In her view, the available long-term studies do furnish scientists with valuable insights. They show trends regarding the effects of some food products in a general daily diet. Beyond that, they are limited, she said. “After all, it’s virtually impossible to track healthy people for a long time in a clinical setting, secluded from the outside world. You might be able to do that in a nursing home, or a hospital, but that often means you are measuring possible effects on unhealthy rather than healthy people.” In the search for reliable indicators, research institutions such as TNO are developing biomarkers that might be better at predicting the effects of food on human health, even when it concerns more than one ingredient (see box). “You need more than reliable indicators,” said Grit. “It’s also important to accurately characterize the ingredient or the food product that brings about the effect. What I mean is, it should be crystal clear whether it’s Food Valley Update | 9


INSIGHTS : Health claims

In 2010, the EC decided to put claims for botanicals on hold. Until further notice, EFSA will not assess claims for such products. the food product as a whole that has a certain effect, or only one or two substances in that product. If you apply for a claim for a particular product, but the effect appears to be due to only one substance in that product, EFSA will reject the claim on the grounds that the effectinducing substance hasn’t been sufficiently narrowed down,” she explained.

Nutrient profiles

Karin Verzijden, lawyer at Axon Advocaten, sees the 2006 regulation and the EFSA criteria as a real improvement. Verzijden’s job is to assist food manufacturers in applying for health claims. She notices that companies still struggle with unanswered questions, though. “There are quite a few unresolved issues,” Verzijden said. “For example, the nutrient profiles. These are criteria regarding the fat, saturated fat, trans-fatty acids, salt and sugar content of products, which the 2006 regulation announced would be set in addition to the more general criteria. However, these profiles are yet to be defined, even though they were supposed to be done back in 2009. The profiles are intended to prevent ‘unhealthy products’ from ever bearing a health claim. A product that contains more than the maximum level of salt, for instance, cannot be labeled ‘healthy’ for some other property. The reason these nutrient profiles are still in the making is that the member states simply can’t agree on how strict the profiles should be and which threshold values to set,” Verzijden explained.

According to Verzijden, the delay leaves entrepreneurs uncertain. Companies wonder whether to wait until the profiles are published before applying for a health claim. Some wonder whether they will be able to continue using existing claims and for how long, or what will happen if their product fails to meet a nutrient profile. “It’s clear there will have to be some sort of transitional period when the nutrient profiles are finally published,” said Verzijden. “Manufacturers of products currently bearing a health claim must have an opportunity to reformulate those products to meet the new standard.” Verhagen, of the EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies, asserted that EFSA has long since decided what the nutrient profiles should look like and what options there are. “It’s up to the European Commission to come to a decision within those scientifically established boundaries. And that’s a political matter, so the Commission just can’t agree,” he said.

Controversy surrounding caffeine and botanicals

Uncertainties surrounding nutrient profiles are not the only issue that require resolution. Another one concerns the health claims related to caffeine. EFSA has deemed the claims scientifically substantiated,


Opportunities for whole grain bread and cereals “The challenge in applying for a health claim is that you have to prove it has a beneficial effect on people’s health. But there are few established biomarkers,” said Ellen Dutman, a TNO expert in nutrition and health claims. TNO is developing testing methods that can make it easier to substantiate health claims. Two examples are the TIM, a dynamic gastrointestinal model, and the InTESTine, a model of the intestines that can be used to study the absorption of substances or release of hormones that play a role in satiety. Such models give manufacturers a tool that can be used to quickly screen products for potential health benefits. TNO is also looking for biomarkers that are easy to measure and can be used as an outcome measure for claim substantiation, explained Nard Clabbers, Food & Health Manager at TNO. “We’re running several projects that are working on this, one of which is the recent Satiety Project aimed at developing an in-vitro screening technology that can predict the satiating properties of whole grain products and cereals,” he said. According to Clabbers, this technology will make it easier to select only

the most promising new food products or ingredients for further development and significantly shorten time to market. At the same time, the human intervention studies needed for health claim substantiation can be more sharply targeted. PepsiCo and Dutch Bakery Centre (NBC) are partnering with TNO in this project, as Susann Bellmann, researcher and project manager, explained. “With these partners, we will focus primarily on the satiating effect of various whole-grain breads and cereals, such as oatmeal and muesli, because these products are rich in nutrients and dietary fiber and will have a longer satiating effect.” According to Nynke Leonards, Food, Health and Regulations Specialist at NBC, the Satiety Project can unlock great opportunities for the bakery industry. Substances such as beta-glucans from oats, wheat bran and other grains have already passed the criteria for bearing a health claim. “The results from this project might allow us to get a health claim for whole grain bread as a whole. We might be able to claim that the satiating effect of whole grain bread helps to control weight for example”, Leonards said.

Food Valley Update | 11


INSIGHTS : Health claims

Karin Verzijden: “There are still quite a few unresolved issues in the claims regulation. For example, the nutrient profiles. This leaves entrepreneurs who want to apply for a health claim uncertain.” but several EU member states still doubt the safety of caffeine. The Commission has asked EFSA to study the risks of caffeine consumption. Until EFSA has done so, the transitional period applies, meaning companies may continue to use health claims on the products containing caffeine. Another thorny matter is botanicals, such as herbs and chamomile. EFSA has so far refrained from assessing these substances. According to Grit, the agency is facing a dilemma. “If EFSA is going to judge these substances in accordance with the same standards as food products, then very few botanicals will pass. For many of those substances there is simply insufficient scientific evidence to prove their effectiveness,” she said. Verhagen pointed out that EFSA has some 1,500 botanicals ‘on hold’, or awaiting assessment. “The point is, we could easily assess these, but again, it’s a political decision. As long as the EC doesn’t ask us to assess these botanicals, we won’t.” At the same time, such botanicals can be registered as natural remedies if they meet the applicable quality and safety standards and have been in use for over 30 years for particular medical conditions. The problem is that the same substances are held to stricter criteria when it comes to health claims. “There’s talk of a separate regime for botanicals, but that doesn’t sit well with many people, as you can imagine,” explained Christine Grit. “All nutrients, but also substances such as stanols, caffeine and probiotics always had to be scientifically substantiated and all research had to meet scientific criteria. And now, all of a sudden, botanicals are going to be treated differently because they’ve ‘traditionally been used’ for a condition? Believe me, this is a big issue that could lead to major changes.”

All in all, an improvement

Although many matters are still unresolved, Grit considers EFSA’s thorough evaluation of health claims a worthwhile effort. In her view, it is the only way to reestablish consumer confidence in health claims, which was undermined when food manufacturers went too far in claiming beneficial effects. As a lawyer, Verzijden, too, has a largely favorable opinion of the EU regulation. “All in all, the 2006 regulation is a great

improvement to the earlier rules, or lack thereof,” she said. “Still, I think food manufacturers need more information and support, because applying for health claims remains complicated. For example, I would recommend the EC document called ‘General principles in flexibility of wording of health claims’. This provides practical advice on how companies can handle health claims and which terms and wording they may use. There’s also a useful Dutch-language document called ‘Indicatieve lijst gezondheidsaanprijzingen’ containing more than 1,000 health claims, which is used as a guideline for advertising. This list will help make clear where the thin red line between acceptable and unacceptable claims lies.”

Lengthy process

Verzijden emphasized that small businesses should carefully consider whether application for a health claim is financially feasible. “Being able to put a health claim on your label may offer all sorts of benefits for marketing purposes,” she said. “But make sure you offset these benefits against all the time it will take to build up a dossier to support your claim. On average it takes 12 months, and that’s not counting possible EFSA ‘stop the clock’ requests for additional evidence. I don’t mean to discourage companies from applying for a health claim to market their unique selling point, but I am warning them about the time it takes to secure such a claim, which is something they should take into account when planning their product launch. In short, look before you leap,” said Verzijden. FV


Meet and Match

NIZO wins IFT Award NIZO food research was the most successful Dutch exhibitor at the Chicago event. The Edebased company won a 2013 IFT Innovation Award. NIZO was awarded the prize for its technology that records and analyzes the sound a tongue makes when it comes into contact with food. This technology is used to predict the sensory effects of new food products. Other companies that won an IFT Innovation Award were Glanbia Nutritionals, PerkinElmer, and Tate & Lyle.

scores big @IFT13 20130417 FV - Kubus zijkanten v04 def outline.indd 1

07-05-13 08:44

At the 2013

IFT Food Expo in Chicago, the Holland Food Valley Pavilion was a big success. It was a collective focal point where many Dutch companies presented their innovations to industry professionals from all over the world. Every year since 2007, Food Valley NL has organized a collective Dutch pavilion at the IFT Food Expo, a leading international food technology show that draws tens of thousands of industry professionals. R&D organizations from all over the world flock to the trade show, as do companies looking for an international exchange of business insights. “Many Dutch companies are keen to present themselves here,” said Roger van Hoesel of Food Valley NL, “but the cost and the organizational burden can be an obstacle. Taking part in the Holland Food Valley Pavilion is an excellent option, especially because we present ourselves as the hotspot of innovation. Our pavilion stands out in terms of presentation, size and uniformity of design.” This year’s Holland Food Valley Pavilion included AkzoNobel Functional Chemicals, Codrico Rotterdam, FeyeCon, Newtricious, NIZO food research, OMVE Netherlands, Scelta Mushrooms and TNO. The pavilion featured a large selection of Dutch innovations developed either by the participating companies or various other Dutch food network organizations, such as Foodport Zeeland, foreign direct investment agency for the Northern Netherlands (NOM), East Netherlands Development Agency (Oost NV), Invest in Utrecht and Amsterdam in Business. Some of the companies participating in the networks were also present at the trade show. “This gave us an opportunity to showcase the many innovations that the Netherlands develops. And the pavilion was a great place to connect with Dutch organizations,” Roger van Hoesel said.

While representing his company at the pavilion, ChihSung Ma, Managing Director at Yama Products (producer and distributor of seasonings) took advantage of the opportunity to network and caught up with some 30 customers. “I noticed that our customers are very internationally oriented. Another thing that struck me is the demand for glutenfree products in the US, which we can benefit from.” Jan Klerken of Scelta Mushrooms found that IFT visitors were mainly trendspotting. “Salt reduction was a hot topic. And mushrooms as a health ingredient was a crowd pleaser too. It drew people to the Holland Food Valley Pavilion.” As a producer of pilot equipment for processing liquids, pavilion participant OMVE Netherlands concluded that ingredient suppliers were very interested in specialized equipment. FV Video interviews with the participating companies and visitors @IFT Food Expo are online at www.hollandfood valley.nl. If you would like to be part of the Holland Food Valley Pavilion at the 2014 IFT Food Expo, please send an email to ift@foodvalley.nl.

Food Valley Update | 13


SPOTLIGHT ON FOOD INNOVATIONS

Dutch

business and knowledge institutes are continually developing new packaging, research methods and concepts. We’ve put the spotlight on several of these innovations from the agro-food industry.


Measuring the effect of eating vegetables

An innovative nutrigenomics approach has enabled TNO researchers for the first time to prove the subtle health effects of eating vegetables. The results of this research support the WHO recommended daily intake of 150 to 200 grams of vegetables. TNO tested the method by means of an intervention study of 30 men. They used sophisticated software for bio-informatics and network analysis to interpret the data. Based on current scientific theories, they were able to link molecular and classical biomarkers. The new approach allowed the researchers to prove the effect of vegetable consumption on human energy metabolism, inflammation processes and the degree of oxidative stress (the formation of harmful peroxides and free radicals) in the human body. www.tno.nl

40% salt reduction using salt replacer

Suprasel OneGrain TS-M100 is a new salt replacer that blends and dissolves just like regular salt. AkzoNobel Salt Specialties and Givaudan, a flavor and fragrance company, developed a replacer that combines sodium, potassium chloride and flavor in a single grain. AkzoNobel’s OneGrain technology had helped to create an ingredient that tastes like salt and has the same processing and storage properties as regular salt. Product developers claim that the replacer paves the way for a 40% reduction of sodium in processed meat. www.suprasel.com/onegrain

Practical innovations for pig farms

As part of the ‘Promising Innovations’ project, the Dutch Pig Innovation Center [Varkens Innovatie Centrum, VIC] is looking for and researching short-track innovations that can be introduced quickly on pig farms to improve working conditions and job satisfaction. This is the third such project in a row to test and develop promising innovations. First in line are easy-to-clean troughs for piglets in the farrowing stall and a train that can be mounted on the boxes in the insemination crate to facilitate insemination. The innovations undergo extensive testing and evaluation. www.vicsterksel.nl

Food Valley Update | 15


SPOTLIGHT ON FOOD INNOVATIONS

Testing the crispness of bakery products

Zeelandia, a Dutch manufacturer of bakery ingredients, has developed a new method to test the crispness of bakery products using texture analysis equipment. By measuring the acoustic energy released during Stable Micro System’s V-pinch test for bread, Zeelandia gets a detailed and objective analysis of the crust’s crispness. This allows the company to develop ingredients that enhance crispness in the crusts of products such as ciabatta and foccacia. A dry outer crust and a clear crunch when biting are important factors contributing to the experience of eating such breads. www.zeelandia.nl

Using yeast extract to reduce salt content

DSM’s latest salt reduction product is called Multirome® LS. This yeast extract contains less salt and creates a rich, savory, umami taste. It can also be used as a flavor enhancer in a wide variety of end products, including snacks, soups, sauces and meat dishes. The ingredient is highly concentrated, so only a third of the regular yeast extract dose needs to be used. Yeast extracts are very suitable for lowering salt content in food products. Tests have shown that 60% of test subjects prefer low-salt tomato sauce flavored with DSM yeast extract over regular (salted) tomato sauce. The test subjects described the tomato sauce with Multirome® LS as less acidic, richer and more authentic tasting. www.dsm.com


Stewing mushrooms in their own juice

Scelta Mushrooms believes traditional preservation methods are past their prime. The company has been researching sustainable alternatives. Traditionally, salt or acids are added to mushrooms to stabilize their color, taste and pH value. Scelta Mushrooms has developed a new method in which mushrooms are stewed in their own juice, using an Ecopouch速. The juice is 100% derived from mushrooms; no food additives are used. The method has many advantages, for instance less waste and less energy consumption during processing and transportation. The resulting sliced mushrooms taste fresh, retain their texture and have a long shelf-life. The juice has an intense mushroom taste and can be used in soups and sauces, so nothing is wasted. www.sceltamushrooms.com

FV

Food Valley Update | 17


Phytonext: Production of high-value natural extracts by means of mild and selective extraction

On behalf of the Dutch Province of Gelderland, Food Valley NL distributes innovation vouchers to entrepreneurs, in the Province of Gelderland, with an innovative idea or concept. Entrepreneurs can use these vouchers to hire expertise that either improves their product or process, or helps them bring their concept to market. The entrepreneurs are required to cover half of the total cost themselves. The Province initially established a fund of € 200,000, of which € 196,000 has now been spent. “We understand the province is issuing another € 200,000 worth of vouchers and that’s great news,” said Food Valley NL’s Guido Matthée. So far, Food Valley NL has received 63 voucher requests in total, including the ones from Zeno, Thomas Jansen Gebiedsinnovatie.nl, Phytonext, Bemap, TeraOptronics and many other firms. The vouchers awarded ranged from € 4,000 to € 10,000 per case. Annemieke Traag, member of the Executive Council of the Province of Gelderland: “For many companies innovation is not self-evident,” said Annemieke Traag, member of the Executive Council of the Province of Gelderland. “Sometimes, lack of time and money holds them back. I’m happy that our innovation vouchers give them a leg up.” For more information, please send an e-mail to: guido.matthee@ foodvalley.nl

Thomas Jansen Gebiedsinnovatie.nl: Developing and testing a new type of green roof that filters out particulates and regulates climate

Zeno: Support for a novel food status application, for a protein made from duckweed


Annemieke Traag, member of the Executive Council of the Province of Gelderland: “The innovation vouchers give companies a leg up�

TeraOptronics: Turning a scientific idea into a marketable product, a terahertz camera for use in the agro-food sector and elsewhere

Bemap: Research into upcycling sawdust for use in the mushroom-growing industry and beyond Food Valley Update | 19


Face to face: Sander van der Laan

Perishables

and online sales are two of the areas where Albert Heijn is trying to improve. Sander van der Laan, CEO of the supermarket chain is ambitious: “We want to do better every day.” Has the role of retail changed? “More and more social themes and developments seem to be converging in retail. With our 850+ stores, Albert Heijn is part of many people’s daily lives. We’re a grocery store, first and foremost, of course, but we also play a role in people’s lives as a producer, buyer and employer. In each of those roles, we try to do our part to create a healthy, sustainable society. This means we have to act at various levels. Customers are price-conscious and looking for convenience, but they also want tasty and healthy products. At the same time, they make choices based on sustainability, animal welfare and the environment, and these are all things we’re actively trying to improve. Our motto is: let’s do better, every day, for our customers, our employees and the community.” What’s AH’s take on health? “We offer our customers the largest assortment of fruits and vegetables in the Netherlands, day after day. Fresh produce is both tasty and healthy. Albert Heijn has a long tradition in fresh produce and other perishables. We offer quality, choice and inspiration. We regularly introduce new, innovative products, such as all-ingredients-included fresh vegetable bags. We do this so our customers can make a healthy, completely fresh tomato soup or guacamole from scratch in no time. We help both our customers and employees to live healthily by clearly displaying which products are healthy choices and by inspiring them to live a more health-conscious life. Our private label products contain less salt and less fat. And our ‘healthy choice’ logos make it easier for our customers to make healthy choices. Some years ago, we set ourselves a target: by 2015, 25% of sales must be healthy products. It’s 2013, and we’ve already exceeded this 25% target.” These are good initiatives, but haven’t you also been criticized by some organizations? “We are regularly held accountable by animal welfare organizations and so on. We are the market leader, and as such we are a role model. However, such organizations are always special interest groups, they care about one thing only, for example animal welfare. But we have to combine those interests with other issues, such as climate change and affordability. This is not to say that we don’t care about animal welfare! For decades, we’ve

Sander van der Laan

is COO of Ahold Europe and CEO of Albert Heijn (part of Ahold). In the currently tough economic climate with critical consumers, there are many issues that AH wants to focus on. On October 24, Van der Laan will be keynote speaker at the Food Valley Expo and will explore these issues. In the run-up to the Expo, Food Valley NL met him face to face.


“Growth

is a joint effort” Food Valley Update | 21


Face to face: Sander van der Laan

The Albert Heijn Pick Up Point: a new and easy way to shop for groceries. Order online at ah.nl and pick up your order at the desired time and place.

offered a wide range of choices for every type of product. So customers can make informed choices and be as animal friendly as they please. Some organizations seem either unaware of this or unwilling to acknowledge Albert Heijn’s efforts in this area. After all, we sell 75% of all the free range and organic chicken meat sold in the Netherlands. And in February 2013, we signed an agreement that will drastically improve the welfare of all chickens in the Netherlands.” But are you transparent enough? “We’re a supermarket with millions of customers and 100,000 employees. Ever since the advent of social media, everything we do is visible. And that’s good. Transparency is important. That’s why we put a lot of energy into informing our customers, by labeling, by providing information about a product’s origins and about our suppliers. In addition to that, Ahold publishes its annual

Responsible Retail Report, detailing our worldwide progress in responsible retailing for all our customers and stakeholders to read. Responsible Retailing is one of the six pillars of Ahold’s worldwide growth strategy. We want growth, but we want responsible growth, with an eye to the future of our children.” What are Albert Heijn’s priorities in its Dutch supermarkets? “We’re dealing with a tough, competitive market where consumers are becoming more and more critical. That’s why it’s important that we keep trying to do better every day. We really want to showcase our passion for food and drink and inspire our customers with tasty, fresh produce. Our fruit and vegetable section is how we make our first impression. In order to meet our customers needs, we’re going to focus even more on fresh produce and other perishables. Our customers can


already see the difference in our cheese section and our fruit and vegetable section, but we’re going to expand this to other fresh product sections. Another customer priority is convenience. Customers lead very busy lives and are very selective in what they want to spend time on. Sometimes they like to browse and get inspired to cook something new, but at other times they’re only interested in speed and convenience. That’s why we offer various alternatives: DIY shopping, at-home delivery or picking up your groceries at a Pick Up Point.” What are you most proud of? “I’m proud of all our employees. Together we work hard to please our customers. To do better, to introduce new innovations, open new stores and to keep on offering our customers tasty, healthy, sustainably sourced products.”

You’re the keynote speaker at this year’s Food Valley Expo. What take-home message do you want to give your audience? “The Netherlands has always been a leader in agrofood. That’s not only proven by our export position, but also by the fact that our country has the most affordable high-quality selection of products in the whole EU. The Dutch market is consolidating. That’s why we need to put in a joint effort with suppliers, to innovate together, to cooperate at a really strategic level. That’s the only way to generate growth. That’s what I’ll be talking about at the Food Valley Expo.” FV

Food Valley Update | 23


Science for business

Groundbreaking Technology for Monitoring Perishables Supermarkets

are stocking more and more perishables, many of which are available year-round. A new technology which accurately predicts these products’ shelf-life can help to reduce food waste while guaranteeing top quality fresh produce. Fresh produce is becoming more and more popular with consumers, so supermarkets have been expanding their produce sections to meet demand. But the quality and shelf-life of perishables like fruit and vegetables are notoriously difficult to manage, leading to a great deal of waste. “Losses in perishables are huge, so there’s a world to gain there. And all the more so in light of the current debate on food waste,” said Toine Timmermans, Program Manager of Sustainable Food Chains at FBR (Food & Biobased Research), Wageningen University and Research Centre. It is particularly difficult to maintain the quality and determine the shelf-life of soft fruits such as

avocados, grapes, strawberries, mangoes and melons. Timmermans: “Add to that the fact that products must be available year-round and is therefore sourced from all over the world. Take grapes, for example. Those used to be available only in October, after the harvest in the Netherlands. Now, we import them from Chile, South Africa, India and Greece. Importers are constantly weighing their options: should they continue importing from Chile for a few more weeks, or switch to India right away? Such decisions carry risks in terms of consistent quality, because there can be a big difference between one batch and the next. Supermarkets are struggling


with the same thing. These are the products consumers complain about most frequently.” Because of such risks, the players in the supply chain need to work together more effectively, Timmermans said. “Over the past two decades, we’ve put a lot of energy into post-harvest product optimization by focusing on the conditions during storage and transport. We’ve done pretty much all we can in that area. Now, our greatest challenge is to figure out how to extrapolate from the available data on variety, harvest, and weather, storage and transport conditions what the quality and remaining shelf-life are of a product in the store. It can be a long way from field to shelf, both in time and distance, so we need smart technology to monitor this.”

Smart sensor tag

The sensor tag can accurately calculate the shelf-life of cut flowers. Based on this information, the destination of any given batch may be changed at auction.

Modified atmosphere packaging has been a big step forward in helping to preserve product freshness, but the search for other technological solutions continues. In a joint effort, Wageningen University and Research Centre, NXP Semiconductors and several other academic and business partners have developed a smart tag for perishables. The sensor tag contains a chip that stores product data such as growth conditions, harvest date, weather conditions and post-harvest quality. All of this information is necessary to determine how long a product can stay fresh. As soon as the sensor tag is put on the product – which, at this point, is done at overpack level, i.e. box, crate or pallet – the tag starts recording humidity, temperature, pH, oxygen and ethylene levels, etc. By combining the stored data with the continuously recorded measurements and comparing this information to a quality model, the tag can assess product quality and calculate a realistic shelf-life. The quality models used to make these calculations were developed by FBR. “We based our models on research in which we tracked products from the field to the point they’re no longer considered fit for use. So far, we’ve done this with veal, avocados, strawberries and roses, but we’re working hard on adding more products to our range of quality models,” said Timmermans. It is the quality models in particular that make these sensor tags so much smarter than any tags currently in use, most of which only record overall humidity and temperature in a shipping container. The sensor tag can actually predict quality and shelf-life because it compares its recorded data to the data in the quality model.

Quality-based decision-making

Of the many advantages the sensor tag has for the entire supply chain, Timmermans considers the ability to make fast, quality-based decisions paramount: “One recurring issue is related to distribution,” he said. Food Valley Update | 25


Science for business “Should you send a batch of ripe and ready-to-eat mangoes to a big supermarket in Amsterdam, where you are almost certain they will all be sold, or should you also send them to smaller, local supermarkets? These are decisions that have to be made every day and require a fast response.” For a different example, consider a batch of cut flowers. If these are left in a warm room or out in the sun for too long, the sensor tag records the temperature fluctuations and adjusts the flowers’ shelf-life. This might mean the flowers need to be given a different destination at auction or that a supermarket has to adjust its 7-day vase life guarantee downwards to five days, or might decide to put them on sale straight away. “Flowers are relatively expensive, so our technology holds great promise for this sector,” Timmermans said. “A decade ago, very few supermarkets sold cut flowers. Now it has become an important distribution channel. For supermarkets to grow in this product category, they have to start offering vase life guarantees.” Another advantage of the sensor tag is guaranteed 100% transparency. All tracking and tracing data are stored on the tag. This includes information about who exactly has handled the product, so that any problems can be traced to their source, laying responsibility squarely where it belongs. The tag is also an excellent tool to prevent fraud. If the data it carries are tampered with or if the tag itself is stuck onto another box or tacked into a different carcass, the tag will show this immediately.

The tag’s main advantage is that it enables qualitybased decision-making. “Should you send a batch of ripe and ready-to-eat avocado’s to a big supermarket in Amsterdam, where you are almost certain they will all be sold, or should you also send them to smaller, local supermarkets?”

“That might ultimately be one of the most important applications of our technology,” said Timmermans.

Pharmaceutical applications

The sensor tag is ready for application, but is being developed further. For the tag to be used on individual products, both the chip and antenna need to be much smaller. At the same time, researchers are trying to make the tag biodegradable. This would make it possible to discard mango or avocado skins on a compost heap with the tag still on. “That’s the great thing about working in innovation technology. So much effort is put into making chips faster, smaller and more sustainable. It’s really impressive. In the Netherlands, we’re ahead of the game in the agro-food industry,” Timmermans added. He also pointed out that consumers need to be educated about the concept of dynamic shelf-life information. Where and how will the sensor tag be visible on product packaging? “And who owns it? Who is responsible?” Timmermans asked. “There’s simply no legislation that covers this. Therefore I expect the


“Our sector welcomes technological innovation”

“Sensor tag could improve eating quality and taste”

Peter Hoogenkamp is project manager at EKRO veal production, a subsidiary of VanDrie Group. At its hypermodern facilities, EKRO slaughters and processes some 400,000 calves annually. “We volunteered our veal production plant EKRO for testing the sensor tag. Researchers from Wageningen University came and tested the tag’s stability and accuracy, measuring the pH and temperature of carcasses. It’s too early for us to say anything about the tag’s applicability in veal carcasses. Quite frankly, I think it could take several years for the tag to prove itself in practice. It’s important to first build up trust in the tag’s reliability. But if it works well, it could certainly help optimize quality control, data collection and process analysis for our meat business. Price, reliability (accuracy) and user friendliness are important factors to consider if certain technologies are worthwhile to apply in the whole meat chain. But our company welcomes any technological innovation that benefits veal products, so we are certainly open to these innovations. So far, the tag has been tested on veal at our facilities, but presumably it will work well on other types of meat as well. It’s up to the businesses to create an interest in this.”

Rob Wessels is R&D Manager at Bakker Barendrecht, one of the Netherlands’ largest fruit and vegetable sourcers. “Quality assurance is a matter of investing heavily in supply chain management. We strive for quality assurance at source, so our growers all use quality assurance systems, but we also have a quality department that makes risk-based assessments of the external and internal quality of the products we buy. Smart technologies like the sensor tag are definitely interesting. We would like to be able to combine data on product quality, in-transit and in-store conditions with what is known about the loss of quality over time. This would help us to guarantee a certain level of product quality. We don’t have a lot of loss, but there’s room for improvement in providing products of consistently good eating quality. I think the sensor tag has potential for expensive products such as cherries, mangoes and avocados. We are also interested in providing products with more consistent taste, so we see potential for application of the tag on citrus fruit shipped from overseas. But the tag could prove useful for certain large-volume Dutch crops in critical seasons too, such as cucumbers and broccoli that are at risk of turning yellow in spring.”

dynamic shelf-life date to appear side-by-side with the supplier’s sell-by date, as additional information or a recommended use-by date.” Still, large-scale application of the tags on fresh produce is not what Timmermans sees happening first. He predicts that the pharmaceutical industry will take the lead. A lot of drugs are thrown out because they may not be reissued, he pointed out. “If you can prove that a particular medication is still usable and has not been opened or otherwise tampered with, the industry could achieve a big cut in loss. It’s a fantastic opportunity for our technology and health insurance companies are very interested. We’re waiting for the first order,” he said. FV

The sensor tag is one of the three finalists for the 2013 Food Valley Award. In upcoming editions, Food Valley Update will focus on the other two finalists: an in-line salad spinner and an on-farm bio product processor. The winner of the 2013 Food Valley Award will be announced at the Food Valley Expo on October 24.

Food Valley Update | 27


FOOD VALLEY EXPO

Meet, inspire, create at the

Food Valley Expo Join us

for national and international matchmaking, inspirational sessions, an update on agro-food trends and research, and much more. Here’s a glimpse of what’s happening on October 24.

Breakfast Sessions European NetGrow Project Presents Research Results The NetGrow project provides a forum in which European cluster organizations share their successes and the pitfalls they have encountered. The goal is to learn what makes network organizations effective or ineffective. During this breakfast session, NetGrow will present its most recent research results on the importance of networks for agro-food SMEs. The session will be chaired by Karen Hamann from the Danish Institute for Food Studies and Agroindustrial Development (IFAU), a NetGrow project partner. Organized by: NetGrow How to Benefit from the New EU Horizon 2020 Subsidies What do agro-food SMEs stand to gain from Horizon 2020, the new EU program that fosters and funds Research and Innovation? The new framework program, which goes into effect on January 1, 2014, picks up where FP7 leaves off. This breakfast session will explain the new market-driven approach and the simplified procedure for applying for funding. Organized by: Food Valley NL and NL Agency


Inspire and Participate Transparency in retail One of the Expo’s highlights is the keynote speech by Sander van der Laan, CEO of Albert Heijn. His inspiring presentation will focus on current trends and developments in the agro-food industry and in retail. Master of ceremonies Astrid Joosten will interview Van der Laan and give the audience a chance to ask questions. Winner of the 2013 Food Valley Award Who submitted the most innovative concept, product or process in the competition for this year’s Food Valley Award? The 2013 finalists are: the Pasteur sensor tag for accurately calculating the shelf-life of perishables, an in-line salad spinner that produces superior results, and a bio product processor for on-site processing of crops into valuable ingredients. The winner will be announced in a fittingly spectacular fashion. Organized by: Food Valley NL

Science for Business Update on the latest scientific research An excellent opportunity to catch up with the most recent scientific developments. Organized by: Wageningen University and Research Centre and other institutions Gelderland for innovation Hear entrepreneurs discuss their experience in generating new business for their products by means of an innovation voucher from the Province of Gelderland or by submitting a knowledge request to Food Valley Direct. This session will showcase innovations achieved on a relatively modest budget. Entrepreneurs will be interviewed about their experiences and innovations. Maximum attendants: 50. Organized by: Food Valley Direct

Dare to Share Leaders in Ambition: Meeting Sustainability & Nutritional Goals Food Valley NL’s Leaders in Ambition program helps entrepreneurs meet their CSR and healthy nutrition goals. At this session, experts will explain what can be achieved by upcycling waste streams, reducing energy consumption and creating healthy food products. Companies will reveal how they have successfully applied this theoretical knowledge in practice. There will be time to talk to fellow entrepreneurs and discuss which of the many options you could apply in your own business. Organized by: Food Valley NL

Food Valley Update | 29


FOOD VALLEY EXPO

All-day program

Business Market Dozens of agro-food companies have a booth at the trade show, where they will present themselves, their products and services. This is the place to catch up on the latest trends and meet the people behind innovations and new concepts. The Taste of Holland. Taste & Vote! De Smaak van NL [The Taste of Holland] is a competition for the best-tasting product grown and manufactured in the Netherlands. During the Food Valley Expo, the public have all day to taste and vote for the shortlisted products. Taste is key. But entrepreneurship plays an important role too. Organized by: Syntens and Venlo, Dutch region of Taste 2013. Introduction to the Top 100 SME Innovations Meet Dutch food entrepreneurs whose innovations rank in the 2013 Top 100 SME Innovations. The Top 100 ranks innovations by small and medium-sized businesses in the Netherlands. In 2013, Syntens Innovation Center, Mercedes and Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad published this Top 100 for the 8th time. One of the food companies on the list, the Vegetarian Butcher, is also showcasing its products at the All-day Business Market. Organized by: Syntens European Food Alliance: International Innovation cases This pavilion showcases innovations selected by the member organizations in the European Food Alliance (EFA). There are innovations from the Netherlands, Sweden, Wallonia, Denmark and France. The innovations displayed will reflect the particular strengths of the country or region where they come from. Swedish

innovations, for instance, focus on packaging technology and food service, while those from Wallonia are mostly related to food ingredients. Organized by: European Food Alliance Food Match International Meet a new international business partner during the 2013 Food Match. Get inspired during the 1-on-1 business ‘dates’ you requested in advance. Create new business opportunities. This year, there’s an opportunity to meet potential business partners from Spain, France, Belgium, Denmark and other countries in three 20-minute sessions. Maximum participants: 50. For more information and registration, please visit www.b2match.eu/FoodMatch2013 Organized by: Food Valley NL and NL Agency


Business and Innovation

Agro-food Opportunities in Brazil With 200 million inhabitants, Brazil is the world’s seventh biggest economy. The country produces many agro-food commodities thanks to its great climate, abundance of land and fresh water, and relatively low labor costs. During this session, Rabobank will explore the many opportunities Brazil offers to agro-food companies. What opportunities are there for agro-food businesses and what steps must they take in order to seize them? Maximum attendants: 60. Organized by: Oost NV for the Feeding the Planet project Restyling Dutch Products for the German and Flemish Markets How do you restyle traditional Dutch products to attract German or Flemish consumers? Students of Food Design & Innovation at HAS took on the challenge and will present their best results at this session. Experts will give their assessment of the students’ efforts. An ideal session for agro-food entrepreneurs considering branching out into neighboring countries. Benefit from students’ input and creativity in marketing traditional Dutch products internationally. Organized by: Food2Market

Realtime Innovation Lab At this interactive session, the public can help develop solutions for current innovation challenges. This co-creation session will get students, high-tech startups and the audience all working together to create prototypes. Then, a panel of experts will select the best solution, which can be developed further with funding from StartLife. Organized by: StartLife Employees of the Future At this interactive session, the business community and educators will address key questions: What should agro-food employees of the future be like? What role can business and education play in “hatching” this new type of employee? This 30-minute session will be kicked off by Hans Schutte, DirectorGeneral of Higher Education, Vocational Education, Science and Emancipation at the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Other participants will include Ger Vos (HCA), Angelique Philipsen (VP of HR, Keygene) and Lilijana Rodic of Wageningen University, who was named ‘Teacher of the Year’ in 2012. Maximum attendants: 30. Organized by: Food Valley Direct

The Food Valley Expo is scheduled for October 24, 2013 at Papendal Hotel and Conference Center in Arnhem, the Netherlands. You can register online at www. foodvalleyexpo.nl. If you are looking for promotional opportunities at the Food Valley Expo, please contact expo@foodvalley.nl for more information on the various exhibitor packages on offer. FV

Food Valley Update | 31


HUMAN CAPITAL

“The Netherlands is very strong in dairy technology” To maintain

its innovative capacity, the Dutch agro-food industry also needs to attract highly educated professionals from abroad. To this end, Knowledge Works!, a project initiated by Food Valley NL, Nutri-Akt and the Dutch business community, set up the Food Valley Ambassador Program. This program offers foreign students a chance to pursue a Master’s degree at Wageningen University while doing a one-year internship on a foodrelated research project at a multinational based in the Netherlands. The program also helps graduates from abroad find jobs at Dutch companies. Thinh Nguyen, Food Valley Ambassador FROM Vietnam Thinh is mainly interested in dairy research, so taking on a one-year internship at NIZO food research was a no-brainer. How did you hear about the Ambassador Program? “I had always heard that the food industry was a fastpaced, cutting-edge industry, but during my previous studies in Bulgaria I never really noticed any of that. It wasn’t until I was working for FrieslandCampina Vietnam that I got a sense of what it was like to work in the food industry. That struck a chord. It made me want to expand my knowledge, so I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Dairy Science & Technology in Wageningen.”

Why Wageningen? “I specifically chose Wageningen because of its strong dairy department with close ties to Dutch and international dairy companies. This was the place to be. In my search for grants and funding I came across the Food Valley Ambassador Program. This did not just offer financial support, but several very attractive ‘perks’ such as a one-year internship!” Why did you choose NIZO food research? “When I was accepted into the Ambassador program, I started looking for a company where I would like to do my internship. My interest is in fundamental research that can be applied in practice in the industry. Nutri-Akt introduced me to NIZO, which perfectly matched my profile and interests. There was a mutual click and I was hired. I haven’t had a moment’s regret, because I can express my creativity and ideas to my heart’s delight and I’m learning a lot!” What are your plans for the future? “My internship ends in April 2014. I want to continue in research, so I’m hoping I can tag on a post-graduate research post or a job in R&D. I’d like to stay here for the next five years, in any case. I’m already learning Dutch.”


“I really feel at home working at Danone” Daniela Lopez Graduated professional from Venezuela Daniela Lopez was a trained chemical technologist, but fell in love with food research. Now she’s working fulltime for Danone in the Netherlands. What is your background? “I was trained as a chemical technologist at Unexpo University in Caracas, the second largest university in Venezuela. In 2005, I graduated as a general chemical analyst, but by that time the food industry had already caught my eye. However, finding a job in that industry in Venezuela was far from easy, so when a job at a paper mill came along, I took it. But l quickly lost interest. Next, I worked for Philip Morris, the tobacco giant. That was my first introduction to international business and that was great. I was less happy with the company’s mission and vision, however. I’d rather work on healthy than unhealthy products.” How did you find your way into the food industry? “From the tobacco company I moved on to a rum producer. Not really healthy either, but it gave me an opportunity to work as a project manager and to lead a team of people. At some point, I was overseeing 300 people and I really like that. But this company had no R&D department and that was what I most wanted to do. So I started looking elsewhere for a real R&D job. At that time, I also started a Master’s program in food technology, but I didn’t finish, because halfway through

I was offered a job at Nestlé Venezuela. There, I learned a lot about milk powder and fruit powder and worked on baby cereals, among other products.” What brought you to the Netherlands? “At the time, I had a Dutch partner, so I moved here and quit my job at Nestlé Venezuela. I applied for jobs at various Dutch food companies, but didn’t land one. Then Nutri-Akt found my CV online, contacted me and introduced me to Danone. I’ve been working as a product developer and project manager at Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition since May 2012. I work mainly on baby food and focus on launching new products abroad. Since I started, I have contributed to the introduction of six new products on the Polish market. And I’m working on reformulating products for the Dutch, British, Russian and German markets.” How do you like working for Danone? “Danone is a great company, that takes a real interest in its employees. And because the company is a multinational, there are a lot of people of different nationalities. So instead of feeling like the odd one out, I really feel at home in this company. I sure hope I get to stay for a while.” FV

Food Valley Update | 33


Food Valley Services

Food Valley NL works for you Bird’s eye view of innovative NL

The Dutch agro-food industry faces the challenge of producing healthy, high-quality and sustainably sourced food that satisfies the demands of increasingly critical consumers, at prices that can compete with those of foreign producers in a globalizing market. Such a complicated objective requires innovativeness, cooperation and the exchange of knowledge. Businesses have to be flexible, but finding the knowledge or the potential business partner they need is easier said than done. There is plenty of information available, but companies often have difficulty judging its relevance and value. This makes it harder to act quickly. Food Valley NL helps companies identify relevant sources of knowledge, support and partnership. Food Valley NL has a bird’s eye view of developments in the industry, thanks to its many years of experience building innovationoriented networks and assembling national and international innovation clusters consisting of businesses, academic institutions and government agencies.

The innovative power of a business network Innovation starts with sharing knowledge and expertise. Being part of an innovation-oriented network can have great added value for accelerating new business, growth and innovation. A growing number of agro-food and food-related businesses and organizations participate in Food Valley NL by becoming members of the Food Valley Society.

Keeping you informed

Food Valley NL keeps its members informed of relevant activities and opportunities, including conferences and meetings, potential joint ventures and business partners, events involving international visitors, visits to national and international trade shows, and tours of company premises in the Netherlands and abroad.

Publicity

Food Valley NL offers its members various media outlets to publicize their news, innovations and member meetings: the Food Valley NL website, Food Valley Update, our newsletter and video reports. Food Valley NL maintains regular contact with Dutch and international media and receives many press inquiries. This allows the organization to regularly direct the media’s attention towards its members.

Target group

Food Valley NL targets innovative businesses ranging from start-ups to multinationals, which are active in the agro-food industry and related fields; these businesses may be based in the Netherlands or abroad. For more information, go to www.foodvalley.nl.

Food Valley NL Core Activities Guidance & support in identifying relevant knowledge, information and potential partners Specially arranged tours and programs for foreign delegations with an interest in Dutch businesses National and international matchmaking & technology scouting Creating national and international clusters that bring together companies, knowledge institutions and/or government bodies: Food Valley Society, European Food Alliance, Food2Market, NetGrow National and international promotion highlighting the innovativeness of Dutch companies: Food Valley Award, Food Valley Expo, Holland Food Valley pavilion


Upcoming Events October 24: Food Valley Expo Arnhem, the Netherlands Info: www.foodvalleyexpo.nl, expo@foodvalley.nl October 31: Food2Market Innovation Training, 1st session Wageningen, the Netherlands Info: mia.holleman@foodvalley.nl November 7: Kick-off Meeting ‘Leaders in Ambition’ focus on Energy Venue t.b.a. Info: frances.fortuin@foodvalley.nl November 14: Food2Market Innovation Training, 2nd session Wageningen, the Netherlands Info: mia.holleman@foodvalley.nl November 14-21: Holland Food Valley @Food Ingredients Europe 2013 Frankfurt, Germany Info: annemarie.nulle@foodvalley.nl February 4, 2014: 7th National Nutrition Conference (in Dutch) Ede, the Netherlands Info: info@alliantievoeding.nl For a full overview of upcoming events, please visit www.foodvalley.nl

Food Valley Update is published by Food Valley NL. Nieuwe Kanaal 9D-3 P.O. Box 294 6700 AG Wageningen The Netherlands Phone + 31 317 42 70 95 Fax +31 317 42 76 71 info@foodvalley.nl www.foodvalley.nl Food Valley NL is co-financed by the Province of Gelderland. Original copy: Emmy Koeleman English translation: Word’s Worth Photography: Emmy Koeleman (p. 4 and 8), Frank Lodder (p. 18, 32 and 33) and Sebastiaan Westerweel (p. 21) Design: Roel Dalhuisen Production: Ilse Dulk Copy-editing: Jolanda Wels Printing: Macula Comments and information requests Questions, comments, ideas, inspiring examples and news are all welcome. Please contact us at: communicatie@foodvalley.nl Copyright All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part of articles and images without written permission by Food Valley NL is prohibited.

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achieve your ambitions!

Join the Leaders in Ambition program for hands-on advice on triple P innovation. Get the tools and strategies you need to innovate: for healthier people, a more sustainable planet, and greater profitability. The Leaders in Ambition program focuses on various issues:

• Upcycling waste streams • Sustainable energy consumption • Reformulating food products • Reducing water use

Are you brimming with ambition and ready to meet these challenges? Contact Frances Fortuin, Leaders in Ambition Project Manager at Food Valley NL: frances.fortuin@foodvalley.nl, +31 (0)317 46 65 12.

Food valley update 2013 No. 2  

In this second issue of Food Valley Update, we feature the views and ambitions of Sander van der Laan, COO at Ahold Europe and keynote speak...