Skip to main content

Queen Maxima visits Foodvalley


Queen Maxima learned about making upcycled food the new normal at Foodvalley

Can you imagine eating vega Filet American made from a residual product from a brewery? Or that protein for human consumption could be extracted from pasture grass? Dutch start-ups are full of smart upcycling ideas for circular agriculture and food production and are also developing the technologies to produce these promising solutions in practice. These efforts are crucial because current food production worldwide is depleting our planet.

Marjolein Brasz, CEO of Foodvalley emphasizes the urgency of change: “By 2050, the food system must provide food security for 10 billion people worldwide. This is only possible if we reduce food and agriculture waste and extract more nutrients from agricultural and food industry by-products.”

Queen Máxima visited Foodvalley and some of its partners to learn more about the latest initiatives to make upcycled food and ingredients the new normal within the circular agrifood sector, and what steps Foodvalley and its partners are taking to achieve this. She discussed the dilemmas and opportunities within the transition to a circular agrifood system with Fred Beekmans, Program leader of Circular and Climate neutral society from Wageningen University & Research and Foodvalley’s Circular Agrifood innovation lead Jolijn Zwart-van Kessel.

Jolijn Zwart-van Kessel highlighted that upcycling food and including ingredients should become the new normal for food products to meet this challenge. “It is crucial that we reuse and, preferably, upgrade so-called agricultural and food industry by-products. There won’t be enough virgin raw biomaterials available if we persist in exclusively relying on these for food, feed, materials, and other necessities on this planet, especially as we aim to transition to fossil-free materials.”

In the development of this relatively new circular agenda on biomasses and food, numerous challenges hinder the widespread adoption of upcycling food losses, such as scaling issues, the often unpredictable raw material flows, a lack of financial incentives on both the demand and supply sides of the market, the required collaboration of all stakeholders cross-sectoral and within the value chain, and sometimes a lack of knowledge of the efforts that are needed for the transition process guidance.

Foodvalley and its partners play an essential role in overcoming these challenges collaboratively in the Foodvalley Upcycling Community and its initiatives like the upcoming Position Paper on Upcycled Foods and Ingredients and the new to launch UPcycled4food initiative next month.

Exemplary partners from the Upcycling Community demonstrated their activities to the Queen. The visit featured a tasting of appetizers where all animal proteins were substituted with proteins sourced from food industry by-products. How did the crackers with vegan Filet American, the vegan burger, and the brioche and cake made from upcycled ingredients taste? Queen Máxima found them surprising and tasteful.