A "Vegan Valley" in the Dutch farmlands? Yes!
The East Netherlands has become a hotbed of food innovation, with Dutch vegan innovation and entrepreneurship taking off!
The region is home to nearly 80 manufacturers, investors and researchers (many from the top-ranking University of Wageningen) who are part of a growing plant-based ecosystem.
According to Jeroen Willemsen, Innovation Lead at FoodValley NL and co-founder of Ojah, the East is recognised as a "powerhouse" in the meat substitute market, which has grown by 25% in recent years in The Netherlands. In 2020, Dutch consumers purchased 32% more plant-based meat in supermarkets compared to 2019, while animal meat sales increased by just 8%.
Hugo Verkuil, CEO of The Vegetarian Butcher, believes it is crucial to convince meat-eaters. Products need to be made as tasty and simple as possible. This requires a lot of R&D spend, which can only be afforded with high volume sales. That means scaling is imperative. Scale requires capital, which is where domestic and international "vegan investors" come in.
With enough investment, the Netherlands has all the talent, expertise and potential to become the plant-based Silicon Valley of the world!
Read the full article (in Dutch) here.