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Zeeland’s food sector serves protein-rich ‘agriculture at sea’

8 July 2022

Yellowtail kingfish, samphire and mussels: just a few typical products from Zeeland that were served on Tuesday afternoon July 5th 2022 at The Protein Showcase of Floriade Expo 2022. Because the food sector of Zeeland, united in the FoodDelta Zeeland network, has to offer marine proteins in addition to vegetable proteins. Of sea and land, of land and water.

That is why the province of Zeeland is one of the partners in The Protein Showcase. Managing director FoodDelta Zeeland Johan Dourleijn states that Zeeland, together with Flevoland, is a leader in arable farming and is the largest aquaculture province in the Netherlands. The entire food chain of starting materials, cultivation, processing, retail and catering is present in Zeeland. ”With this, we have a guiding function in the transition to food with proteins of vegetable and marine origin. In other words, how do we get those crops and ‘agriculture at sea fruits’ on the consumer’s plate?”

The Protein Showcase – driver for sustainable ambitions To this end, Floriade appears to be a wonderful stage. Five out of the approximately one hundred affiliated partners in FoodDelta Zeeland were allowed to tell their story at The Protein Showcase. The presentations, tasting and guided tour of the protein plot are, according to Dourleijn, inspiring for the participants and other parties who can help realize our joint ambition. “The importance is that innovation and collaboration are needed more than ever to meet the challenges of the future.”

Limarain – sharing knowledge among growers and chainsFirst of all, René van den Bosch of seed breeder Limagrain from Rilland mentioned the advantages of the field beans, of which they put the seed all over Western Europe: high in protein, low in CO2 emissions, retaining nitrogen, requiring little fertilizer and high yield. The market is already good for feed (animal feed), but the field bean still offers a lot of cultivation potential for food (human consumption). To stimulate this, the positive field bean story will have to be shared more, among growers, but certainly also among all chain partners in the processing industry.

CZAV – level playing field for the field bean
The European playing field also requires attention, because German and Belgian growers receive subsidy. On behalf of Zeeland’s grower’s organisation CZAV, Jos Groot Koerkamp expressed the hope that the Common Agricultural Policy will soon provide solutions for Dutch growers. After all, the crop fits in perfectly with the sustainability issue. For example, the field bean is a wonderful rest crop and it increases the biodiversity in the fields.

Meatless – the time for meat substitutes is right
Jos Hugense from Meatless from Goes showed that beautiful products can be made from the field bean. They use field bean flour to make textures for, for example, meat substitutes, such as vegetarian hamburgers, and chicken and fish analogue products. It appears that the time is right: with an annual growth of 40%, the need for new, sustainable products is high. Due to the expectation that vegan and vegetarian products will fall in price, the demand will become even higher.

Kingfish Zeeland – clean fish is well paid
Then to protein-rich aquaculture, where that growth is also noticeable. According to Janneke van der Linde of Kingfish Zeeland from Kats (right under Zeeland’s bridge), the demand for sustainably farmed fish is high. The careful selection of parent fish, rearing in the basins, care and perfect conditions on the farm make the yellowtail kingfish a ‘clean’ fish, which is especially well-received within the gastronomy.

Krijn Verwijs Seafood – luring the customer 
Finally, Caroline Verwijs from Krijn Verwijs from Yerseke even uses protein-rich products that do not require any nutrition at all. The shellfish, such as mussels and oysters, live from the sea, which means that the footprint is even lower. In fact, CO2 is even stored in the shell. Just like the field bean, the seafood is also ideal for growing and consuming. But with mussel, for example, it is also important to convince the consumer. Based on the motto ‘happy, hurry, hungry’, the company is now also able to reach new target groups with the Premier concept.

Speakers & companies 
Johan Dourleijn from FoodDelta Zeeland
René van den Bosch from Limagrain
Jos Hugenese from Meatless
Jos Groot Koerkamp on behalf of CZAV
Janneke van der Linde from Kingfish Zeeland
Caroline Verwijs from Krijn Verwijs
Herman Navis, Protein Lot The Protein Showcase

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