Regio Foodvalley has recently added a new addition to start-ups. Roots Innovation Hub is a real breeding ground for innovative ideas and passionate entrepreneurs who want to take their concepts further. A meeting with Ernst Breel of Rival Foods shows that the first innovators have already settled. Breel started the new company together with Birgit Bekkers to further develop and commercialize relevant research that Bekkers had started at Wageningen University outside the university walls.
Rival Foods has only been around for six months, but it seems to be on a very interesting track: that of structuring vegetable proteins according to a new process called shear cell technology. This gives vegetable proteins a firm muscle-like structure and bite and the properties of meat. Apart from the value of this process, its timing is also perfect, as meat substitutes and plant-based diets are in the spotlight these days. "Actually, Birgit and I are part of the lament that those meat substitutes are far from being what they should be," Breel begins. “They are often affe products with a taste, smell and color. Opening the suit and heating it up is really all you can do with it. Beautiful culinary products that you can prepare in different ways are still missing. We want to change that. ”
Bite is the new taste and it is therefore gratifying to note that with the developed procedure vegetable products get a firm texture and also react exactly the same to preparation as meat. It has already been proven experimentally how well that worked. “We have had several chefs work with our meat substitutes. They cut, baked, roasted, cooked and marinated, but didn't notice any difference with real meat. They were therefore enthusiastic. ”
Ideal nursery for startups
Breel is also enthusiastic about the possibilities that working in the recently opened start-up location 'Roots' offers him as an entrepreneur. And he is not alone, because there are more startups located in his immediate vicinity. “I just spoke to a few companies that will move into our sister building opposite tomorrow. There is already an interesting company there that is developing cultivation systems with plants. ” The interest there is does not surprise him. "It is ideal for startups that cannot afford to conclude long lease contracts, so it is ideal that affordable business space can be occupied here under flexible conditions." As far as Breel is concerned, there is also synergy, because according to him all startups can learn something from each other. “Questions about contracts, how you deal with employees or how you tackle certain administrative issues, every startup has to do with it. Only then can you exchange a lot of knowledge. ”
“It is also nice that, in the middle of the Foodvalley, there are all kinds of companies with whom we can work and that our lines with Wageningen have remained short. In this way we can link up with all kinds of scientific developments. ” Moreover, Breel is already noticing that the location also makes him internationally visible as an entrepreneur. “For example, we received financing from a foreign party that only noticed us because we were able to present our business case in the larger context of Wageningen and the Foodvalley.”