ReThink Protein Challenge'2

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ReThink Protein Challenge’2 Quest for sustainable solutions to meeting protein needs of 9 billion people


ReThink Protein Challenge’2 | ProMeat

ReThink Protein Challenge’2 Quest for sustainable solutions to meeting protein needs of 9 billion people

© 2021 Wageningen University & Research All rights reserved: no part of this document may be reproduced, stored in an automated database, or published in any form or by any means, be it electronic, mechanical, by photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Wageningen University & Research ( Texts: Participants of the ReThink Protein Challenge’2, Nicolien van ‘t Wout Hofland (WUR), Koen Janssen (WUR), Alessandro Caprini Editing: Suzan Parren-Gardner Photos: Archive of the interviewees and teams (unless otherwise indicated) Design: GAW, Marieke Eijt Printing: Tuijtel

We thank our partners and sponsors for their generous contributions. Their support has been invaluable in making the ReThink Protein Challenge’2 an unforgettable and inspirational event, educating the game changers of the future and contributing to innovations for a sustainable future. Impact & Business + partners

Other partners


ReThink Protein Challenge’2

Table of Contents Word from the Rector


The future of proteins according to Stacy Pyett


Looking back at the second edition


Meet the jury


Solutions Mushbloom 14 MLB 16 AlgO 18 Flypro 20 Propers 22 Pemla – forest foods 24 mINc 26 S.E.E.D 28 SAHARA 30 Blue Chitin






Partners about the Challenge


ReThink Protein Challenge’2


Word from the Rector Rethinking our food systems With the world’s growing population and increasing prosperity, the demand for, and ability to afford, animal proteins is increasing. And that causes major challenges! The production of animal proteins takes up a lot of space, of which we are running out and it comes with a major contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Another issue is that the amount of animal protein we consume in the western world is often excessive and leads to obesity. That is why we urgently need to move towards more sustainable models of protein production and consumption. Exploring new approaches, concepts, technologies and products is precisely what we aim for with our ReThink Protein Challenge. .

Inspiring young talent As a world leading institution in the field of agriculture and food production, we set out to educate and inspire young people, to become the changemakers for a sustainable and resilient future. We provide them with the knowledge and skills to contribute to key global transitions. This Challenge is one of the ways to achieve this. Close to four hundred students from ninety one different universities in thirty four countries started on this journey at the start of 2021. After nearly 6 months, 12 teams made it to the finals.

Speeding up the protein transition I am very proud of the students that have participated in our second edition of the ReThink Protein Challenge. They have developed amazing concepts and innovations for feeding the fast-growing global population with sustainable, healthy, and affordable proteins, and that have the potential to speed up the protein transition. I am full of admiration for the teams who dedicated so much of their time and energy, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, and for not giving up despite the difficulties. Congratulations to you for your creativity, hard work and persistence!


ReThink Protein Challenge’2 | Word from the Rector

Joining hands to create change Collaboration is key in countering the global challenges we all face, and this project is not different. It has been a joint effort from my colleagues at Wageningen University & Research with our partners from around the world. I am very grateful for their support. Thank you so much! I hope the content of this magazine will provide inspiration to anyone interested in contributing to more sustainable food systems in the future Arthur Mol Rector Magnificus/Vice President of the Executive Board Wageningen University & Research

ReThink Rethink Protein Challenge’2


The future of proteins according to Stacy Pyett Text: Nicolien van ‘t Wout Hofland

Stacy Pyett is Programme Manager Proteins for Life at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research (WFBR). She played a key role in defining the content of the second edition of the ReThink Protein Challenge. We interviewed Stacy to learn her views on the future of proteins.

Why is it so important that our society replaces a part of meat-based proteins by plant-based proteins? “First of all, there are urgent environmental reasons for this. We aim to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gasses, and we urgently need to prepare for the effects of climate change including drought. Proteins are key to these issues, because they are the most resource-heavy part of our food system. But it’s also about health and equity. At this point, access to proteins is disproportionately coupled to personal wealth. That shouldn’t be the case.”

What is the current state of affairs? “There are reasons to be optimistic. On the consumption side, there has been an increase in the number of flexitarians and vegetarians. There are also more and more plant-based alternatives available. But on the other hand: meat consumption is not declining. So the will seems to be there, but the majority of consumers does not put it into practice yet.


Stacy Pyett Programme Manager Proteins for Life at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research (WFBR)

On the production side, we are seeing a huge shift in investments. Just ten years ago, hardly any money was being spent on research alternatives for animal proteins, but now the industry is investing in alternatives to soy and in more sustainable production routes. Still, we have not yet overcome all the bottlenecks to make sustainable options widespread. So just like on the consumer side, the will is there. The technology just isn’t fully ready yet.”

How can we accelerate the protein transition? “Consumers in rich countries will have to reduce their consumption of animal proteins. Will that be the result of personal choice or will we need heavier measures like carbon pricing? That’s not clear yet. But it is clear that there are many benefits to moving to a more balanced diet.

ReThink Protein Challenge’2 | The future of proteins according to Stacy Pyett

When it comes to production, we have to explore many protein sources to find the ones that work for each specific region. And the whole system needs to produce in a very different way. Circular production, making sure that nothing goes to waste, is crucial. It could potentially eliminate feed-food competition and reduce our dependence on soy imports.”

Are there any steps we could take right now? “There are a couple of quick wins that are not very high-tech but can be very impactful. Consumers could eat smaller portions of meat, 100 grams instead of 200 grams, in combination with more vegetables. We tested this in a restaurant setting and consumers reported enjoying their meal just as much. Other easy options for a smaller footprint are to eat chicken instead of beef and to eat more beans. Looking ahead, we also need to invest in protein production areas that have a lot of potential but are not drawing enough attention. I’m thinking of areas like micro-organisms and agricultural side streams and residues. There have been a lot of investments in insects, algae and lab-grown meat. But we shouldn’t neglect these other- arguably more promising-- routes.”

How do you see the role of technology in all this? “There have already been many investments in plant-based product development, as companies like Impossible and Beyond have shown. But there is still a need for deeper scientific understanding of these products, including their impact in terms of nutrition and health. We can also still improve a lot in the process to make

plant-based products closer to the plant, and thus more sustainable. Furthermore, we’ll need large-scale capacity investments to diversify our protein sources and to make production future-proof. No sustainable protein source can compete with soy right now due to the scale that we’ve reached in soy production. New sources will have to be strongly supported if we want them to be adopted.”

What are the most important obstacles? “On the consumer side, the trend towards plant-based products is becoming associated with a certain socio-economic class. The threat here is that it becomes a niche thing rather than a broad movement carried by all of society. When it comes to production, it’s really about seriously investing in research and capacity building. At this moment, consumers may be ready to make a step towards a more sustainable diet but we aren’t ready to provide them with sufficient volumes of sustainable, delicious proteins. A huge risk is that the protein transition dialogue may turn into a polarized debate of ‘meat is good’ versus ‘meat is bad’. Here at Wageningen University & Research, we try not to make it a black and white discussion, it needs to be a nuanced conversation. We’re not urging people to become vegan – animals are actually very valuable in a circular production narrative. We need to invite all actors to the table, and to share a nuanced story.” For more information on the research by Wageningen University & Research, please check our website:

ReThink Rethink Protein Challenge’2


Looking back at the second edition Text: Alessandro Caprini

The Challenge The second edition of the ReThink Protein Challenge focused again on producing sustainable protein for the future. Wageningen University & Research (WUR) estimates that by 2050, 30 to 40 percent more protein will be needed to feed the world, and the big challenge is to produce this protein sustainably and from alternative sources. In this context, “One company cannot innovate and create the change all by itself. Collaboration between companies, institutes and even students in this challenge is really important,” said Wim Hilbrands, project director at DSM, which is an impact partner of the ReThink Protein Challenge. “The ideas conceived by students had to fulfil three criteria. They had to be 1) aimed at a specific market, 2) more sustainable than current alternatives and 3) innovative and unique,” explained Rio Pals, one of the organisers of the Challenge.

Kick-off The Challenge was officially launched in the online Kick-off Event on 14 January when more than 200 students in 49 teams from 41 universities on 5 continents started this exciting journey. The composition of the teams was extremely diverse, and every team had its own idea on how to provide the world with enough sustainable protein, such as new sources of protein, the upcycle of waste streams, tailored solutions for local problems and the use of new technologies such as 3D printing and artificial intelligence.

Future of Foods Webinar Series Throughout the Challenge the teams were inspired by the Future of Food webinars, which involved a wide variety of speakers ranging from company partners of the Challenge to academics. These speakers introduced the participants to key topics in the field, including the extraction of protein from new sources such as duckweed or agricultural side streams, and the use of a food systems perspective that embraced the social component of sustainability.

First selection round After one and a half months of hard work, the students handed in their first milestone reports, in which they presented a first concrete look at their solutions. The jury


ReThink Protein Challenge’2 | Looking back at the second edition

had the hard task of analysing and assessing the reports in order to make the first selection. “It was extremely hard to decide. Not only did the number of the submissions go up compared to last year, but the quality did as well,” said Sergiy Smetana, a member of the jury. Based on the innovativeness, sustainability, social impact, technical feasibility, scalability and economic viability of their first milestone report, 30 teams were selected for the second round.

Virtual speed dates and training The journey continued with virtual speed dates, in which the teams followed trainings sessions on PR, business models and pitching with help from over 60 experienced coaches from 30 companies with various fields of expertise. The more than 400 interactions between teams and coaches proved incredibly important for the teams: “Without the coaches, we wouldn’t have gotten this far. There are so many things that you can’t google. Sometimes you got stuck, but the coaches helped you to get moving again,” said Peter from the Team Blue Chitin. The coaches were also impressed by the teams: “The quality, energy and motivation exceeded my expectations,” said Huiberdien Sweeris, who works for Foodvalley NL. The training sessions helped the teams increase their visibility on social media, create a bullet-proof business model and craft the perfect on-line pitch.

Announcement of the finalists Working for two and a half months and with the help of the coaches, the top 30 teams continued to focus on validating their initial ideas. The teams were divided in two categories (ideation and prototyping), and the second selection round took place in an online event on 3 June. “The variety of ideas was enormous. I was also impressed by teams focusing on local solutions,” said Wim Hilbrands, project director at DSM and chair of the selection committee. After the second selection round, 12 teams made it to the finals. In the last round of the Challenge, those teams perfected their pitch and finalised the details of their entries.

Grand Finale In an exciting livestream Grand Finale, the finalists presented their final pitch, and the jury consisting of high-level representatives from DSM, Lely, Bayer, Avebe, IFF and GEA selected the three winners for each category. In what the jury called a “very hard choice”, Cultivated won the first prize in the prototyping category and AlgO in the ideation category. Cultivated provides a milk-fat substitute that, according to the jury, could potentially be a “game changer” in protein transition. AlgO’s idea of producing microalgae from waste streams was considered to be “very flexible” by the jury. All six winners will receive prize money and professional support to further develop their ideas in order to translate them into reality and make a real impact in the world. Rethink Protein Challenge’2


Meet the jury Text: Alessandro Caprini

André van Troost Lely

André van Troost has more than 18 years of experience in the food, agriculture and technology industry. He is the current CEO of Lely, where he has worked for more than seven years. As an international family business in the agricultural sector, Lely aims at making farmers’ lives easier with innovative solutions and tailored services. They provide

“It was great to see the diversity and creativity in the Challenge! It’s amazing what students find as potential improvements towards a more sustainable world.” 12

solutions to almost all activities in the cowshed, from milking to cleaning. They also offer advice on how to organise a dairy farm smartly by using management systems. “We at Lely call ourselves ‘farming innovators’; innovation is in our DNA. That’s why we’re helping students explore their own innovative talents and find new ways to help feed the world. We encourage young talent to be innovative and join us in creating a better world by developing sustainable solutions. Only by thinking outside the realm of traditional ideas can we continue to be farming innovators, now and in the future. It was great to see the diversity and creativity in the Challenge! It’s amazing what students find as potential improvements towards a more sustainable world.

Rethink Protein Challenge’2 | Meet the jury

Marcus Pesch IFF

Marcus Pesch has a background in food sciences and technology as well as 23 years of experience in the flavour and taste industry. He currently works as the global leader in the Re-Imagine and Re-Master Innovation Programs for International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF). IFF is a global leader in the taste and food & beverage ingredient industry.

“My hope is that this Challenge can bring new ideas and insights to develop the segment of plant-based proteins faster and to identify young talent, both for our company and for the world.”

the world. ‘Health for all, hunger for none’ summarises their purpose. Bayer provides inputs – seeds, crop protection solutions and services - to the farmers who grow their crops, which are the major sources of protein for food and feed.

Johan Botterman Bayer

“I believe the Challenge is extremely important because it fosters innovation through young global talent on multiple global challenges like sustainability, animal care and feeding the future world population. My hope is that this Challenge can bring new ideas and insights to develop the segment of plant-based proteins faster and to identify young talent, both for our company and for the world. I was impressed by the submissions: the competition resulted in a diverse portfolio and range of submissions with different levels of quality and development.”

Johan Botterman is the current Head of BioScience Product Research at Bayer Crop Research, where he has worked for over 18 years. Bayer is a global company in agriculture that focuses on developing products and solutions for farmers and growers around

“The Challenge is a great initiative to stimulate creativity among students while also giving them the opportunity to get real-life exposure to validate an innovative idea for customer desirability, technical feasibility and economic viability.”

“The Challenge is a great initiative to stimulate creativity among students while also giving them the opportunity to get real-life exposure to validate an innovative idea for customer desirability, technical feasibility and economic viability. And it’s a wonderful experience for students to be the owner of their own venture idea. The real benefit of the Challenge is the experience that the participating teams gained. A very complimentary learning experience at the beginning of their professional career. Bayer continually needs new talent and is sees its participation in this challenge as a perfect exposure to young talent entering their career. Some of the proposals might also be in the sweet spots of innovation that Bayer is exploring. I was Impressed by the diversity of ideas that might contribute to alternative approaches to supplying protein while keeping society and consumer trends in mind.”

ReThink Rethink Protein Challenge’2


Meet the jury Text: Alessandro Caprini

their clients, their members, consumers and society as a whole.

Gerard Ten Bolscher Avebe

Gerard Ten Bolscher is the managing director of R&D and Innovation at Avebe. Avebe is a market-oriented cooperative of starch potato growers that focuses on extracting starch and protein from the potato for the food industry. Through development and innovation, Avebe aims at using all the possibilities provided by potatoes to make life healthier and more convenient for

“These young and enthusiastic teams motivated us and gave us insight into what drives this generation to take further steps in changing the food system.” 14

“Our company was one of the first to deliver a functional plant-based protein. Since then, great steps have been made but there is still a lot to do. Each of the projects in this Challenge can contribute to a more sustainable food system. These young and enthusiastic teams motivated us and gave us insight into what drives this generation to take further steps in changing the food system. In the end, coaching these teams was not a one-way flow of information, but rather it allowed us to learn from one another. There were very diverse ideas about creating a more sustainable food system; some involved using food waste to produce new food products such as mushrooms or fish farming or developing new products from insects. Each of the projects contributed to tackling the challenges we face in a different way.

ReThink Protein Challenge’2 | Meet Rethink InnerCity the jury

Christelle Theis GEA

Christelle Theis is the senior director and head of the Innovation Excellence team at GEA Group. GEA is one of the largest technology suppliers for food processing and a wide range of other industries. One of GEA’s strategic areas is New Food, such as alternative proteins. Christelle is a mechanical engineer skilled in developing innovation and finding new opportunities.

“The Rethink Protein’2 challenge was a great opportunity to get access to new ideas and meet people with a strong entrepreneurial mindset.”

ular Sciences) and Rotterdam (MBA), he started working at Gist-brocades, which was taken over by DSM. For most of his career, Wim has been active in the nutrition part of the company: in business development, project management and, more recently, mainly in strategy projects.

Wim Hilbrands DSM “There is a rapid and dramatic need to change the way in which food is produced and consumed. Such a transformation requires new ways of thinking and collaborating. The Rethink Protein’2 challenge was a great opportunity to get access to new ideas and meet people with a strong entrepreneurial mindset. I was very impressed by the holistic approach taken by the teams. The 360° analyses conducted by the teams clearly showed where potential lies. Some of the teams presented a strong story which will affect customers. I am convinced of the benefit of strengthening collaboration between young start-ups and corporate. This is key to driving this transformation successfully forward.”

Wim Hilbrands works for DSM as a project director at the DSM Innovation Center. He manages strategic projects, like acquisitions and alliances, across a number of DSM’s areas of innovation. After his studies in Wageningen (Molec-

“It was encouraging to see that, even with the additional constraint of COVID measures, the quality of the work was great in such a short time frame. The submissions covered a wide area of different concepts in a very international setting.”

“This Challenge is important because it stimulates thinking on one of the major issues in today’s world. New viewpoints and avenues are needed and that is what this Challenge brings. International student teams with fresh new thoughts give new insights and come up with new concepts and new solutions. For DSM, this Challenge is a success when it leads to some new opportunities which we can further explore. But it is also a success when we can interact with bright students, some of whom might find their way to DSM. The submissions in general were very interesting and inspiring. It was encouraging to see that, even with the additional constraint of COVID measures, the quality of the work was great in such a short time frame. The submissions covered a wide area of different concepts in a very international setting.”

ReThink Rethink Protein Challenge’2


Impressions of the ReThink Protein Challenge#2 Photos: Guy Ackermans


ReThink Protein Challenge’2 | Impressions ProMeat of the ReThink Protein Challenge#2

ReThink Rethink Protein Challenge’2


Mushbloom Our vision Our goal is to face the problem of global food shortage by educating the public on repurposing food waste into edible food. We hope to achieve this by creating a mushroom-growing kit that uses domestic vegetable waste as nutrients. At the same, time we are reinforcing mushrooms as a meat analogue. Our final product must be environmentally and economically sustainable.

Our solution The solution is a mushroom-growing kit. The mushroom grown would be oyster mushrooms (P. ostreatus). The kit comes pre-made, with alternating layers of paddy straws (PS) and vegetable waste (VW) to be filled in by the consumers. The PS substrate is inoculated with P. ostreatus. The layers are separated by a cotton mesh fabric that is strong enough to hold the layers in place while allowing liquid to pass through. Consumers should boil the raw vegetable waste and then add it to each empty layer. Once the empty layer has been filled, consumers would then spray water on the PS layer to stimulate the mushroom’s growth.

Our market Our target audience is households with children because we want to encourage children to grow up with an awareness of both repurposing appropriate food waste and alternative protein sources. By targeting the next generation of thinkers, we are sowing the seed of sustainable eating early on. In addition, this product


Rethink Protein Challenge’2 | Mushbloom

introduces curious young minds to the world of alternative proteins by letting them experiment with something rather familiar to them. However, there has to be a substantial yield of mushrooms to convince the consumer that recycling waste can have significant benefits.

About the team We are an inspired team of Food Technology students from Wageningen University & Research (WUR) who want to explore the world of protein substitutes and its potential. With our food technology background, we are hoping to tackle global food problems in whatever way we can.

“Throughout the Challenge, it became increasingly obvious that every single individual has a role to play in this radical shift in protein. We are glad to be given the chance to expedite the process.”

Team members: Kai Kiat Lau, Lina Ben Amor, Hao Yang Lai, Kacper Mozdzen, Hartanto Arie Wirawan

ReThink Protein Challenge’2


MLB Our vision We want to create a more interesting approach to a protein snack for children and a more efficient use of by-products from livestock processing. In addition, our product would help parents not to worry about their children’s nutritional deficiencies while giving children around the world a more nutritious childhood through MLB!

Our solution By focusing on liver proteins and combining this with 3D printing technology, we have designed a protein snack for children. As a by-product of meat processing, porcine liver is rich in high-quality protein, but it is not often used commercially. Current nutritional products are available in a single format. Addressing the playful nature of children, we want to enable them to play and supplement their diets at the same time. By using liver as a protein source, compounding this with natural nutrients and applying it to 3D printing pens, children can simultaneously have fun and get quality protein.

Our market Our target group is children between 3-12 years old, especially those who have picky and fussy eating habits and those who eat too many unhealthy snacks. By making the best use of liver protein resources, we can create all-natural fillings to meet children’s needs for a nutrition supplement. Also, by combining these fillings with 3D printing pens, we can improve


Rethink Protein Challenge’2 | MLB

children’s acceptance of healthy snacks, help them form healthier eating habits and improve their creativity and hands-on skills.

Team members: Yuxuan Wang Qipu Xin Yujia Miao Di Zhao Ruqi Chen Minxian Shi Ye TAO

About the team In addition to our innovative thinking, our team members have a professional knowledge of food nutrition and engineering manufacturing capabilities. We share a passion for food innovation and a reluctance to waste the byproducts of animal processing.

“By participating in this Challenge, we’ve learned the importance of marketing. Having amazing ideas is not enough; you also need a good marketing plan for your business to succeed.”

ReThink Protein Challenge’2


AlgO Our vision AlgO’s vision is to become the go-to platform for rescuing nutrients from the food and beverage industry’s ‘extreme’ effluents. We aim to become the world leaders both in both cultivating extreme microorganisms that thrive on such effluents and processing their biomass into its valuable constituent ingredients, thus fuelling a new generation of ‘extremely’ circular systems.

AlgO’s ingredients can be produced continually and more quickly, using less land and fewer resources than traditional monocultures, while comparing favourably with the best alternatives on the market. To achieve this, we are collaborating with F&B companies that generate large volumes of effluents that require treatment and are costly to them or the environment.

Our solution

About the team

In AlgO, we are developing a process in which microalgae are cultivated using ‘extreme’ effluents from the F&B industries and are then refined into high-value ingredients. Currently, no other microalgae is used as a main source of ingredients in food product formulation despite the fact that they fulfil the need for more sustainable and nutritious food sources. AlgO’s process could overcome most of the challenges to the mass cultivation of microalgae, while tapering on billions of litres of ‘extreme’ effluents and contributing to the transition of a circular economy.

Dan is a MSc Biotechnology student and algal enthusiast who wants to enact change through the combined application of science and entrepreneurship. Daniel is a microalgae aficionado with a knowledge of bioprocesses trying to fulfil the potential of this amazing group of microorganisms. Saskia is a PhD student focusing on fermenting macroalgae to enhance their nutritional functionality and to change seaweed’s aroma profile so macroalgae can be used more readily in a variety of food products. We are driven by making the food system more sustainable through efficient waste stream usage and innovative technologies.

Our market We target food production companies developing brands and products that cater to flexitarian Millennials and Gen-Zers. These companies are increasingly looking for sustainable, economically viable ingredients that cater to flexitarian concerns about the sustainability and nutrition of their food choices.


Rethink Protein Challenge’2 | AlgO

Team members: Dan Macken Daniel Alberto Perez Rico Saskia Urlass

“This Challenge gave us a platform to co-create solutions with industry leaders”

ReThink Protein Challenge’2


Flypro Our vision Our vision is to help the Indonesian government reduce cases of stunting in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) province by cultivating black soldier fly larvae (BSFL), a promising new protein source of high-protein livestock feed. In five years, we hope that our innovation will have helped decrease the number of cases of stunting and reduce food waste in this area, thus improving the health, environment and financial status of its population.

Our solution Stunting is still a major problem in NTT, where the number of cases continues to increase. In 2018, 42.6% of the children in NTT suffered from stunting, which was much higher than the national rate of 30.8% (BPS, 2018). The increase in stunting in NTT is mainly due to the lack of a protein source because it is difficult to plant crops and raise livestock here. This region has an arid climate (a long dry season) and low rainfall intensity, both of which affect farming productivity, including a lack of animal feed. As a consequence, livestock is malnourished and less able to reproduce. People in NTT rely on broiler chickens and their derived products, such as eggs. However, the limited food available to broiler chickens has been a common issue that affects their productivity. The government has introduced many programmes to enhance the production of broiler chickens; one of them is by increasing the production of livestock feed. The local


Rethink Protein Challenge’2 | Flypro

government has committed its support to this sector by facilitating a start-up in the livestock feed sector and by financial support. Up to now, the government has tried to meet the need for livestock feed by increasing crop production, particularly the production of corn, rice and soybean. However, this strategy is not effective because it competes with the need for human food. The lack of variety in livestock feed has driven the Indonesian government to support the animal feed industry’s operations in NTT. Therefore, we propose introducing BSFL as a better protein source of feed for livestock. BSFL can recycle organic matters that typically become waste, such as spent grains and food residues, into quality proteins, fats, amino acid, vitamins and minerals (Bessa et al., 2020). Agricultural crops could then be only for human food consumption. NTT, especially Komodo Island, is a well-known tourist destination. The many restaurants and resorts produce vast amounts of food waste. The untreated food waste will always be a problem if it is not appropriately handled. Therefore, we see this as an opportunity to use the food waste to increase the productivity of the BSFL with a high nutrient content.

Our market The need for livestock feed in NTT is estimated at 200,000 tons/year. Our target market is poultry feed in the East Sumba area, which was expected to produce about 671,750 broiler

Team members: Fadel Muhammad Zahtamal Zahtamal Fanny Taralandu

chickens in 2020 (BPS, 2020). Broiler chickens need 2.2 kg of poultry feed before they can be harvested (4 weeks old); thus, the need for broiler feed is estimated at around 1.2 million kg per month. In the first month of production, we hope to produce 3000-4500 kg per month. The leading target group for the BSFL product is farmers who raise broiler chickens in NTT. There are three scenarios on how we could sell our products. First, by cooperating with the government to supply BSFL as livestock feed for farmers as the government is also seeking a new alternative animal feed. Second, by selling the BSFL products directly to the farmers. Third, Flypro will also cooperate with the animal feed producers instead of competing with them by providing a source of protein for animal feed composition. We hope to collaborate with an NGO and other stakeholders with the same vision and mission.

About the team Our team consists of three Wageningen University & Research (WUR) students from Indonesia. Zahtamal (MSc Plant Sciences), an entomologist, has done several studies in the past two years on unlocking the further potential of insects. He understands the rearing

“We found a lot of interesting topics, amazing teams and inspiring coaches that were all very helpful and beneficial to our learning process.”

mechanism and the biological condition of the black soldier fly. Fanny Taralandu (MSc Health and Nutrition) has a background in health, nutrition and social empowerment. She is one of the pioneers in reducing stunting in East Nusa Tenggara province and has strong connections with the local government. Fadel Muhammad (MSc Environmental Sciences) spent his last two years advocating a sustainable and eco-friendly system for business processes. He is also passionate about initiating a circular economy and sustainable community development. All team members are excited about developing their ideas in the Rethink Protein Challenge and are willing to support one other.

ReThink Protein Challenge’2


Propers Reshaping the tempeh industry in Indonesia Tempeh is a protein bar made from fermented soybean. The current national tempeh industry in Indonesia relies mainly on imported soybean, which significantly contributes to the carbon footprint. We aim to develop sustainable and healthy tempeh from alternative local resources, thus reducing the carbon footprint and ensuring fair business practices.

Our vision We have envisioned a better way to use underutilised tropical resources to create sustainable and healthy products. We are committed to developing the sustainable production of tempeh from local rubber seeds. In addition to producing fresh tempeh, we hope to develop pre-cooked and marinated tempeh to address our target group of urban citizens.

Our solution Propers are committed to the sustainable production of tempeh from local rubber seeds for urban citizens. Indonesia is a substantial source of natural rubber, and its rubber plantations produce 0.8-1.2 tons per hectare per year of underutilised rubber as a by-product. Despite the 20-30% crude protein content of commercial rubber seed, this product is underutilised, accounting for less than 25% of the total rubber seed production. Rubber seeds contains 10 of the 11 nonessential amino acids which contribute to


Rethink Protein Challenge’2 | Propers

human body health. In addition, rubber seed has more methionine compounds than soybean as well as a higher phenylalanine and valine content than maize. Rubber seed also has higher isoleucine, leucine, threonine, and valine than the FAO pattern. This different amino acid profile could result in new sensory tastes for tempeh. Propers Tempeh is a regenerated, authentic Indonesian plant-based protein whose rubber seed and other ingredients are all locally sourced. The protein and amino acids profiles of our tempeh differ from existing soybean tempeh. An environmental problem of conventional tempeh production is connected to both its cultivation and transport. A study has found that emissions from the traditional production of tempeh in Indonesia vary between 2.3 and 2.7 kg CO2-eq/kg tempeh. By using local sources, we can reduce importing soybean from abroad, which accounts for 78% of the total transport distance. This reduction will decrease the carbon emission by 38%. Propers’ business practices will promote fair trade values. Rubber plantations, focusing on the production of raw natural rubber, are a source of underutilised rubber seed, which Propers can add value to. By partnering with Propers, local rubber farmers could potentially increase their income by 160-240 USD per hectare per year. This additional income would account for 10-17% of the annual income of local farmers.

Our market With a population of approximately 250 million, Indonesia annually consumes about 7 kg of tempeh per person. This is two to three times higher than the consumption of red meat. In 2019, the total addressable market (TAM) of tempeh in Indonesia ranged from 1.3 billion USD to 7.5 billion USD. This huge market is promising for the future development of our business.

Team members: Bagoes Inderaja Akbar Haqi Mukhammad Faisol Amir Hayah Afifah

ReThink Protein Challenge’2


Pemla – forest foods Our vision Pemla creates delicious and nutritious plantbased foods that promote the health of people and planet. Focusing on agroforestry, we want to connect our diets to agroecosystems that sequester carbon, support biodiversity and strengthen agrarian communities. Through conscientious sourcing from sustainable agriculture, artisanal processing and strategic partnerships with retailers and manufacturers, we strive to advance the development of regenerative, carbon-negative food systems from the ground up.

Our solution Pemla’s solution for the protein transition is carbon-negative, protein-rich nut flours sourced from regenerative agroforestry. Our defatted nut flours are better than industry standard; sprouting removes antinutrients and increases nutrient bioavailability, while low temperatures protect heat-sensitive proteins from denaturing, thereby increasing solubility and functionality. The biochar we make from waste shells, when applied as a soil amendment, can regenerate degraded lands into productive carbon sinks, making the EU’s ambitious climate goals of GHG reduction and carbon neutrality feasible without compromising food security. How we source our protein can help us eat our way to a greener future.

Our market Our primary markets are conscientious consumers and manufacturers who want


Rethink Protein Challenge’2 | Pemla - forest foods

to leverage their purchasing power to shift food systems towards sustainability without compromising on taste or nutrition. Our naturally sweet, protein-rich nut flours are great ingredients for healthy snacks, keto smoothies, gluten-free baking, vegan cheeses and meat analogues. Manufacturers looking to reduce their carbon footprint through insetting in their supply chain will also benefit from our offerings. Based in Tirana, Albania, Pemla currently serves eco-socially minded consumers, manufacturers and retailers with a preference for gourmet, local foods. To increase our impact, we aim to export to key markets in Europe.

About the team Ana brings project management experience and the local knowledge and networks required to make things happen in Albania. Her background in European Studies provides insight into regional politics and sustainable development. Jeffrey brings technical experience from his background in Public Health, Environmental Science, Permaculture Design, and an MSc in Organic Agriculture and Food Systems. Our drive is to nourish humanity, plant forests, and care for Mother Earth.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to learn and compete with other teams in finding creative solutions to advancing the protein transition.”

Team members: Jeffrey Thimm Ana Shima

ReThink Protein Challenge’2


mINc Our vision

Our market

As a company, mINc, seeks to address the problem of malnutrition and greenhouse gas emissions from food in developed and nondeveloped countries. mINc wants to exploit unused resources, specifically mealworm, to encourage entomophagy and thus draw attention away from intensely exploited resources such as livestock. Insects are our oldest allies, and the world ignores this powerful resource that addresses the world’s needs for sustainable, economic and nutritious foods.

We target open-minded families interested in health, the environment and recycling. Our initial customers are parents between the ages of 30 and 50 with a high earning potential and children between the ages of 4 and 10. We approach our product as a personalised family product, meaning that there are individual options for parents and their children. Our product helps to develop an emotional experience in which parents teach their children about sustainability, nutrition, quality and taste.

Our solution

Ana and Svea graduated as Food Production Engineers in Osnabrück, Germany, where we studied a range of subjects such as finance, food quality and marketing. We gained experience in research and project development, product development, sustainability methods and nutrition. We were drawn to each other by our passion for food and human welfare, and we complement each other through our individual working methods and styles.

Our solution is to develop insect-based dairy alternatives from the larvae species Tenebrio molitor, which outperform most animal-based products from an environmental perspective. We will begin our mission by developing a nutritious and delicious bread spread as an alternative to cream cheese and other vegetable spreads. Our low-carb and lactose-free product has great amino acid and fat profiles and presents a low environmental burden, a great amino acid, and fat profile and it’s low carb and lactose-free! We want to introduce the concept of insects as a basis for dairy alternatives to younger generations and eventually effect a change in their eating habits. In the long term, we seek to normalise the consumption of insects and create delicious alternatives to our customers’ all-time favourites.


Rethink Protein Challenge’2 | mINc

About the team

“After each Milestone, we had learned so much about ourselves, our abilities and the potential of our idea. For us the Challenge represented a learning experience which transformed into a real business plan.”

Team members: Ana Tello Svea Ites

“We really enjoyed sharing knowledge and experience with professionals in the field and discovering all the possibilities of the food industry.”

ReThink Protein Challenge’2


S.E.E.D Our vision Tomato is one of the world’s most cultivated and consumed vegetables. The amount of fresh tomato consumed in season is relatively small; most tomatoes are processed into juice, paste, ketchup, etc. Tomato processing generates tomato pomace (TP) as a by-product, with 44% and 66% being the respective proportion of tomato seeds and peels on a dry basis. It has been estimated that 5.4-9 million tons of TP are generated annually in the world, especially in Italy, Spain and Turkey. Currently, TP is used mainly as animal feed or discharged as landfill. However, this TP stream contains various highly valuable ingredients with impressive nutritional and functional properties that can be valorised for further profit, such as dietary fibre, protein, healthy fat, antioxidants. Our vision is to contribute to global health by providing sustainable ingredients with enhanced functionalities from sources potentially considered waste by the food processing industry.

Our solution Our goal is to design a sustainable yet economically feasible biorefinery concept to recover and produce the finest quality of food ingredients from tomato pomace (including seeds and skin). The possible products from this biorefinery include both individually extracted protein, oil, fibre and a complete tomato pomace powder. All products are manufactured using minimum processes to


Rethink Protein Challenge’2 | S.E.E.D.

obtain a more sustainable production line and clean-label ingredients while preserving the maximum nutritional and functional potential of the pomace. We hope to tap the potential of extracting quality ingredients from unfamiliar fruits/vegetable components, thus simultaneously adding value to the by-products of food processing.

Our market With its range of highly functional, nutritious and sustainable solutions, S.E.E.D. provides food manufacturers a simple way to meet the future demand for plant protein while creating better food products. Our range of products can be used in various gluten-free items, meat and meat analogues, beverages, cheese, highprotein snacks, sauces, egg-free dressings and pasta. This enables food manufacturers to use

Team members: Chaitya Jain Chau Nguyen Hoang Thuy

a single plant-protein source across different product categories for different purposes. Eventually, manufacturers can reduce their raw material expenditure, shorten their long list of ingredients and reduce their investments in product development.

About the team Our team consists of Chaitya Jain from India and Chau Nguyen from Vietnam, Master’s students at Wageningen University and Research. As passionate food technologists, we are inspired by novel and sustainable protein ingredients from unexplored sources and we want to make such protein sources more available commercially.

“There’s no such thing like food waste. We can create value from anything around us. It’s all about our perspective.”

ReThink Protein Challenge’2


SAHARA Our vision Our team vision is to boost health, education and social outcomes in Kenya with a sustainable protein solution for local malnutrition problems. Our mission is to connect nutritionally underserved communities with the economic markets driven by choice and affluence. We aim to be a social venture with a dual purpose of providing sustainable protein solutions to both underserved communities and the communities of choice and affluence; by doing so, we hope to create an effective revenue model and economic recycling between the two.

probably buy alternative/trendy food products, nutritionally conscious consumers - ordinary consumers in the mass market willing to pay more for cricket-enriched wheat and maize flour, healthy lifestyle consumers - people whose primary interests are health and fitness, business/industrial clients - flour millers, bakers, institutions, restaurants, school feeding programmes in partnership with charitable organisations and governments and entomophagists - people who actively consume insects, especially those in the low- income areas like Kibera.

Our solution

About the team

The current food system calls for healthy and sustainable diets. Our proposed solution builds upon a tried, tasted and tested indigenous food that is bountiful during climate change disruptions such as heavy rains and flooding. We propose to integrate a sustainable cricket-protein powder product into existing ecosystems within the community. Our primary aim is to serve a real, tangible and urgent human need. The market is open and willing to embrace this solution. It is essentially a social enterprise venture and product since raw material can be sourced from existing suppliers. The time to market necessary to develop the product is extremely short because of solution is simple and highly acceptable.

We are an inspired team of Food Technology Sahara is a team of 5 women who all come from different continents and are united by the fact that hunger has no nationality. We believe that hunger is a problem that needs to be fought by everyone. Loosely translated, Sahara means help in making the world a nurturing home where everyone feels loved and valued.

Our market Our potential customers/market segments include middle-class individuals who would


Rethink Protein Challenge’2 | SAHARA

“I feel that this Challenge helped me switch from an academic mindset to a working one, and I also learned that a big achievement, which seemed impossible, just needs work, time and trust to be realised, nothing more!”

Team members: Ateeba Kamal Ferdaous Amira Winnie Akara Arianna Cattaneo Petra Hooijenga

“I loved being part of such a creative group of innovative decisionmakers.”

ReThink Protein Challenge’2


Blue Chitin Our vision

Our market

Aquaculture is going to play a very important role in supplying the world with sufficient animal protein in the upcoming decades. However, the growth of the aquaculture industry is going to be limited by a lack of current resources and inefficient processes. Furthermore, fish populations are being overfished and rainforests are being transformed into agricultural land. Blue Chitin wants to achieve a major reduction in such overexploitation. Therefore, we need to do more with less!

Blue Chitin targets aquafeed manufacturers that implement sustainability policies in their business model. Since the majority of the aquafeed manufacturers that are heavily interested in increasing the sustainability of their aquafeeds are located in Europe, Blue Chitin will first focus on the European market. Companies like Nutreco (Skretting) and Cargill have expressed their interest in implementing products that contribute to improved sustainability (e.g. Skretting: “Sustainability, it’s not just what we aspire to do, it’s what we do.” Blue Chitin will assist aquafeed manufacturers to reach their sustainability aspirations.

Our solution The high demand for fish meal and soybean meal creates scarcity. The current growth of the aquaculture industry is heavily reliant on these unsustainable resources. Aquaculture must keep expanding to meet future fish demand. Doing more with less would be the solution to realize this growth. Blue Chitin wants to contribute to this resource deficiency by providing a feed additive that will improve the nutrient uptake efficiency in Nile tilapia. This efficiency improvement creates huge opportunities because more fish protein can be produced with the same resources! On top of all of this, the feed additive consists mainly of waste material from the shrimp industry, thus contributing to a circular economy!


Rethink Protein Challenge’2 | Blue Chitin

About the team Blue Chitin consists of an international group of friends dedicated to finding a solution for sustainable development. Our expertise focuses mainly on animal nutrition in combination with the proper knowledge of aquaculture and the insect industry. We are driven to eliminate unsustainable sources of protein in aquafeeds while contributing to the growth of the aquaculture industry, which will provide the future world population with sustainable protein.

“We were amazed by the enthusiasm of the coaches and the companies.”

Team members: Gijs van Beilen Pim Hilgers Peter-Melvin Fransen Daan Smeenge Steven Setiawan

ReThink Protein Challenge’2


Cultivated Our vision

Our market

Alternative dairy products still fall short of having ideal sensory, functional and nutritional characteristics nor do they yet appeal to the majority of consumers. We envision a future in which manufacturers can rely on ingredients that make alternative dairy palatable and functionally identical to traditional dairy products. A future in which traditional dairy production can rescale to former sustainable dimensions without compromising consumer satisfaction.

Our product is directed at large and mediumsized European food product manufacturers and retailers. We are aiming at companies who are leading the transition towards more sustainable food chains in European countries with unique traditional dairy industries, such as the Netherlands, France and Switzerland.

Our solution We aim to produce a lipid ingredient identical to milk fat through yeast precision fermentation. Production will rely on side-streams from food processing companies, further reducing the resource, land and energy needed to produce alternative dairy. Freed from animal farming, alternative dairy production will allow the creation of new economic activities and a revaluing of traditional activities. Ultimately, its application will finally make alternative dairy delicious and satisfying to the majority of European consumers, many of whom wish to reduce their animal product intake. Currently, no company has conceived of such an ingredient to be upscaled into viability and cost efficiency or has formulated the same sustainability and social formulas.


Rethink Protein Challenge’2 | Cultivated

About the team Julia brings consumer, sensory and foodtechnology academic expertise. She is passionate about alternative protein and firmly believes fats will be key in enabling protein transition. She is a double MSc Consumer Studies and MSc Food Technology student at WUR and is currently doing her thesis on food lipids at the Food Chemistry department at WUR. Tomas brings industrial experience, domain-specific knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit. He previously worked for Planted, a Swiss plant-based meat start-up and is currently finishing his MSc thesis on lipid production in yeast at EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne).

“The ReThink Protein Challenge was an amazing learning opportunity and felt like a first step towards an exciting career in alternative protein.”

Team members: Julia Gil N. Martin Tomas Turner

ReThink Protein Challenge’2


ProProtein Our vision Dairy products have an essential role in human nutrition. Unfortunately, cattle farming requires a great number of resources and has an adverse impact on the environment. ProProtein aims to satisfy the protein need of the growing human population by providing a technology to produce dairy proteins in a new and environmentalfriendly way.

Our solution ProProtein is developing a technology to produce dairy proteins by fermentation with yeast, without the need for cattle farming. We introduce dairy protein genes into the yeast genome. The resulting yeast starts producing the same proteins, which are subsequently cleaned from the media and used as an ingredient for making cheese, yoghurt or other dairy products. Producing proteins with recombinant microorganisms is a novel and rapidly developing technology that enables large amounts of desired proteins to be produced quickly.

Our market The global dairy alternative market is worth 21.4 billion USD, a figure that estimated to increase to 36.7 billion USD by 2025. Dairy alternatives are widely used by vegans and lactoseintolerant people but, even more importantly, by flexitarians. ProProtein aims to develop the technology for the production of dairy proteins. Our clients are companies who wish to become


Rethink Protein Challenge’2 | ProProtein

self-sufficient in obtaining the necessary supply of protein, which will enable them to provide their customers with higher quality products.

About the team ProProtein, which is located in Estonia, was founded by a passionate food technologist and former dairy-alternative developer. The start-up is collaborating with the University of Tartu, which can create the yeast strain and express proteins. We have compiled a wonderful international team of enthusiastic specialists from the Netherlands, Poland, Mexico, the US and Lebanon with skills and backgrounds in bioprocess engineering, plant protein technology, marketing and nutrition.

”The Rethink Protein Challenge was very professionally organised and involved working with high-end partners and making valuable key contacts.”

Team members: Kaisa Orgusaar Russ Eveline Wynne Chen Giacomo Molteni Brenda Juarez Garza Adonis Hilal

ReThink Protein Challenge’2


Coaches advise students in online speed dates Text: Koen Janssen

On 22 April, students and coaches participating in the ReThink Protein Challenge got together again. In online speed dates, students were free to discuss their ideas, opportunities and obstacles with coaches like Henk Wymenga (Wageningen Ambassadors) and Huiberdien Sweeris (Foodvalley NL). What did they take from these speed dates?

Experience in Africa ‘I have many treasured memories from my student days in Wageningen. Now I can give something back.’ Henk Wymenga got involved in the ReThink Protein Challenge through the Wageningen Ambassadors, a group of prominent Wageningen University & Research (WUR) alumni who build bridges between WUR and society. Wymenga studied Food Science and went on to work for Cargill and Heineken in Europe, the United States and Africa. One of the teams I spoke to during the speed dates is developing breakfast foods for Indian millennials. It’s aimed to be healthy, quick to prepare, and at a minimal cost. Another team wants to sell insect-based products in the slums of a major city in Kenya. A brilliant idea, because locust plagues are very common and this could be a way to turn that availability into food. But selling products in Kenyan slums is no easy task. How do you get the products there, and how do you get consumers to buy


them? I lived in Africa for 10 years, so I have a lot of experience in that area. Both positive and negative. It’s great to share that experience with students.

“It’s great to share that experience with students.” It struck me that many teams are very strong when it comes to the content of their product. They know the recipe, the consumer benefits, they have given a lot of thought to the design. They are very advanced, intelligent students! What’s missing is an understanding of things like distribution and entering markets. At their universities, students are being taught how to develop a product, which is great. But for this ReThink Protein Challenge, they need to think about markets, about business plans. By providing a helicopter view and by showing them the steps required to write a business case, I

ReThink Protein Challenge’2 | Coaches ProMeat advise students in online speed dates

will help them where I can. That’s where there is room for them to learn from the Challenge.’

Rolling out the red carpet Wageningen is also familiar territory for Huiberdien Sweeris, who studied International Land and Water Management there. She now works for Foodvalley NL, an organisation that works towards a sustainable food system that is healthy for people and planet. The connection with the ReThink Protein Challenge is clear. ‘Wow, such a network, so much energy, so much motivation. That was my feeling after the speed dates. The first online sessions, a few months ago, were more like a Q&A: as coaches, we asked questions, they answered. This time, there was a real dialogue. And some great ideas were presented. I spoke to a team that wants to process insects and sell them in slums in Kenya where access to good food is limited. An Albanian team aims to collect walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds, which are by-products, from local farmers. They turn those into butters, something like peanut butter. And they are looking for ways to utilize their waste streams (e.g. nut shells) to make biochar which can be used to regenerate degraded soil. So it’s very sustainable, but can they scale up? Teams soon run into many complexities.

At Foodvalley NL, we value young talents. We need their bright minds to help make the transition to a sustainable food system. We really want to roll out the red carpet for them and stimulate them to continue their career in this field of work. So during this Student Challenge, I try to do the same. I can offer our network, knowledge about entrepreneurship and access to the market. I might not know much about edible insects myself, but maybe I know someone who does. In general, I don’t want to steer students into a certain direction, I want to help them ask themselves the right questions.

“Wow, such a network, so much energy, so much motivation. That was my feeling after the speed dates.” I haven’t been a coach in one of the Student Challenges before, but I’m enjoying it a lot. It has exceeded my expectations! And if students want to continue working on their concept after the Challenge, I will gladly do my part to support them.’

ReThink Rethink Protein Challenge’2


Close calls and online celebrations at grand finale of the ReThink Protein Challenge Text: Koen Janssen

The wait is finally over for teams participating in the ReThink Protein Challenge ’2. On Friday 25 June, the jury announced the winners of this thrilling edition of the Student Challenges. A tense build-up, including video pitches by the twelve remaining teams, finished with a first place for team Algo in the Ideation category and team Cultivated in the Prototyping category. The Grand Finale marked the end of a Student Challenge that started in December 2020 and involved 49 teams from over 40 countries. More than 30 companies and 60 coaches helped the students on their way to the final. All these teams formulated their own answers to the subject at the heart of the Challenge: the protein transition. How can we feed billions of people in a healthy, sustainable way? To give students a chance to contribute to a solution, WUR organised the ReThink Protein Student Challenge for the second time. Only six teams were left to compete for the highly coveted first place in the Ideation category and the same number of teams remained in the Prototyping category, where concepts have to be a few steps further developed. The following teams were still in competition: ProProtein, AlgO, Flypro, mINc, Propers and S.E.E.D. (Ideation) and Mushgroom, MLB, Pemla Forest Foods, SAHARA, Blue Chitin and Cultivated (Prototyping).


Difficult decisions for the jury Before the finale, these teams had spent the morning presenting their case to the jury, which asked them critical questions about their concepts. The jury then had the difficult job of selecting the best teams from this strong field. This was a challenging task, according to Wim Hilbrands, project director at DSM and chair of the selection committee. Teams had delivered a very high quality, and it was difficult to compare projects as far apart as tomato seeds, plant-based dairy to fish feed based on shrimp shells. Hilbrands praised the teams: ‘Students have a fresh perspective. Their ideas always lead to new avenues that we haven’t thought about.’ His jury colleagues, from Student Challenges’ partners Lely, IFF, Avebe, Bayer and GEA, were equally impressed. Many complimented the students for their hard work, excellent performance and enthusiasm and would even be glad to have them on board at their own company. ‘Give me a call and I’ll give you a job’ said one of the jury members. The time had come for Hilbrands to announce that the following teams had finished in the top three in their categories. First the Ideation competitors.

ReThink Protein Challenge’2 | Close ProMeat calls and online celebrations at grand finale of the Challenge

And the winners are... Before announcing the winners in each category, host Rudy van Beurden invited viewers at home to vote for their favourite team. More than 270 people were watching from home, and the majority of their votes (53%) went to Blue Chitin. They were the first of the day’s winners, and two more soon followed. With tension rising, Wim Hilbrands repeated that teams had been neck-and-neck and that all of them had delivered concepts of a very high quality. But decisions had to be made, and Hilbrands finally brought the good news to teams AlgO and Cultivated. For their first place, the teams had earned 3.000 and 6.000 euros respectively. Dan and Daniel of team AlgO, the first to be called out, felt ‘pure happiness!’ The Re-

Dan and Daniel of team AlgO felt ‘pure happiness!’

Think Protein Challenge had already been an incredible journey for them, and they had not expected to win it. Julia and Thomas of team Cultivated were also thrilled, and already looked forward to continuing their work after finishing their thesis. The first order of business is to find a lab to execute their R&D plans.

A bright future For the winners, a whole new adventure awaits. Besides the prize money, AlgO and Cultivated will receive support from StartHub in the form of matchmaking, free participation in the StartHub Realisation Programme and two additional coaching sessions on entrepreneurial competence development and building a (semi)professional team. The teams will also be put in touch with investors Siemon van den Berg and Randolf Nijsse of the Impact Equity Fund.

Julia and Thomas of team Cultivated were thrilled, and already looked forward to continuing their work after finishing their thesis.

Needless to say, all the participating students in the ReThink Protein Challenge have a role to play in the protein transition. The teams have only just started their journey. Hopefully we will hear a lot from them in the coming years. ReThink Rethink Protein Challenge’2


Partners about the Challenge “All the teams seem very motivated with their projects, and I have been inspired by their ideas” Stephan Bouwman, Marel

“I truly enjoyed the discussions!” Roland Snel, ADM

“I was really inspired by many teams” Naoya Ikenaga, Fuji Europe Africa B.V.

“Very interesting presentations, it was a pleasure to participate” Henk Wymenga, Wageningen Ambassadors


Rethink Protein Challenge’2 | Partners about the Challenge

“Very inspiring and international event with enthusiastic students and great ideas” Marc Laus, Avebe

“Thanks for inviting GFI to be part of the Challenge. Experiencing the energy, optimism, and ingenuity of the student teams was very inspiring!” Renee Bell, The Good Food Institute

“The speed dating event was great – it was great knowing different teams and faces of people” Siddharth Sharan, Döhler

ReThink Rethink Protein Challenge’2


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