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Plant Protein Forward

News

March 27

Rabobank, Foodvalley NL, and the Interprovincial Protein Council jointly launched Plant Protein Forward. This programme aims to scale up crop-specific chain initiatives that contribute to increased consumption of Dutch-grown plant-based protein. The first initiative to utilize the programme is the chain of Dutch Edamame. The launch of Plant Protein Forward took place on March 27 at the Rabobank headquarters in Utrecht.

New Perspective

Plant Protein Forward offers a new perspective for farmers and contributes to the goal of the National Protein Strategy to make the Netherlands more protein self-sufficient. The programme focuses on chain initiatives where farmers are central, including those who process their own cultivated raw materials such as lupine, fava beans, or soy into ingredients or end products. Alex Datema, Director of Food & Agri Netherlands at Rabobank, emphasises: “Increased protein cultivation from Dutch soil aligns perfectly with Rabobank’s vision for the agro-food sector in 2040. Initiatives like Plant Protein Forward are important for developing robust chains with a good earning model for farmers.”

Increasing Market Demand

Existing chain initiatives already produce sustainable, healthy, and tasty products and ingredients, but structural market demand often lags behind. Marjolein Brasz, Director of Foodvalley NL, notes: “The cultivation of protein-rich legumes delivers value in so many ways, think of biodiversity and soil quality. The entire chain needs to step up to increase market demand, from producers and retailers to the public and financial sectors. That is why I am delighted about this special collaboration between Rabobank, the IPO Eiwittransitie, and Foodvalley.”

Chain Enhancers and Programmatic Approach

Plant Protein Forward is supported by chain enhancers that address the specific needs of the involved farmers and chain parties. A chain enhancer becomes part of an existing team for at least six months. The insights gained, such as new forms of collaboration, the route to market, and marketing the benefits in terms of CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive), are shared by The Protein Community and through the Protein Farmers of the Netherlands. The collaborating provinces state: “This will lead to a programmatic approach that helps future chain initiatives across provincial borders to scale up innovations based on local plant-based crops.”

Green Powerhouse

The Dutch Edamame initiative is a promising example of how Plant Protein Forward is committed to promoting Dutch-grown plant-based protein. The fresh soybean, which is becoming increasingly popular, finds its way to the Dutch market both fresh-frozen and processed in dishes such as poke bowls, meal salads, and wraps. Harry Schreuder, one of the founders of Dutch Edamame, emphasizes: “Supermarkets and caterers often still choose Edamame from Asia. While we have mastered the cultivation. Why source from afar when it can be grown nearby and offers so many benefits? With Plant Protein Forward, we aim to make Dutch Edamame available to all Dutch citizens by 2025.”

Multi-year Programme

Plant Protein Forward will support at least six different crop-specific chain initiatives in scaling up, professionalization, and market creation over the next three years. During this time, Plant Protein Forward will closely collaborate with the Protein Farmers of the Netherlands, among others, in knowledge sharing.

plantforward launch