Plant-based Study Trip with the Trade Council

Looking back on one of last years interesting trips: 🌱
In September 2023, Senior Sales Director Karina Stokholm joined The Trade Council and partners on an inspirational trip to visit plant-based businesses, innovative producers, and local food clusters in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Belgium has the third-largest consumption in Europe, with 11% of the population identifying as non-meat eaters. There are strong political, economic, social, and technological drivers, which is why the Belgian multinational retail giant, Delhaize, aims to double its plant-based (PB) offerings by 2025. Additionally, Belgium has a strong ecosystem for food innovation, particularly in the biotech and ingredient industries.

The Netherlands is one of the most established PB markets and also has the highest consumption of PB meat alternatives in Europe per capita. The development is driven by a large and innovative food industry, as well as national protein strategies, making the Netherlands a global frontrunner in protein innovation. Furthermore, the research institution Wageningen University & Research Campus (WUR) and the innovation catalyst, FoodValley, have created an ecosystem of partnerships related to global food challenges to promote the PB market.

The study trip project aims to supply plant-based companies with inspiration, and knowledge about market potential and new food trends. The participants gained inspiration and insights from the most innovative markets in Europe for PB food and beverages, as well as an understanding of the market potential and new trends when we met with food clusters, local producers, WUR, Food Valley, and retail stores.

“It was an amazing trip! Very impressive company visits and I love connecting with more fellow Danish food industry colleagues. SO much inspiration to take home.”
Karina Stokholm

The trip included visits to: Wagralim: Wallonia’s Food cluster together with Cosucra, Flanders food: Flander’s Food cluster, EAPF: The European Alliance for Plant-based Foods, ENSA: The European Plant-based Foods Association, Greenway: Besides their restaurant, Greenway offers a wide range of plant-based products, Those Vegan Cowboys: The Vegan Cowboys aim to make cheese which is at least 5 times more effective than traditional milk production by turning grass into milk proteins, Bio Base EU: Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant offers process development, scale-up, and custom manufacturing services for innovative biobased products. The visit will include an introduction to the Protein Club, and a tour of their Pilot Plant, Foodvalley: collaborates with front-runners to accelerate the transition to a sustainable food system, Nizo: Nizo is one of the leading contract research organisations for better food and health in the world with expertise in bacteria, proteTransportins and processing, Odin supermarket: Odin is an organic and sustainable supermarket chain in the Netherlands, with thousands of members who are part-time owners of the cooperative. They offer 100% organic and preferably biodynamic products.

The Trade Council and its partnership group

The Trade Council is the part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that helps companies realize their ambitions in the fields of export, innovation and growth. They are present in global markets and offer up-to-date advice and expertise to Danish companies. Every year, The Trade Council (formerly the Export Council) helps approximately 3,000 Danish companies to expand their exports and enter new markets.

The study trips are part of the partnership project “Export of plant-based food and beverages to markets in DACH and Benelux,” a collaboration with the Trade Council Berlin, Trade Council of Denmark in Brussels (inc. The Danish Embassy and the Danish Perm Rep to the EU), Food Nation Denmark, Landbrug & Fødevarer, Plantebranchen and Planteværket. It is part of an export program for plant-based companies seeking inspiration, knowledge, and guidance for increased sales in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany.