Nutreco talks new protein sources and animal ag

How will the food sector provide up to ten billion people with enough protein in ways that are healthy, affordable and sustainable?

This has become a fundamental question for the food sector. Protein is essential for human health – but the way it is currently produced depletes natural resources. Righting this imbalance is critical to the mission of feed supplier Nutreco’s venture capital arm, which is investing in ‘breakthrough innovations’ that it hopes will not only fast-track growth but also support the transition to a more sustainable system of protein consumption.

Director of venturing, Joost Matthijssen, believes that the answers are within spitting distance. “We are very excited about how technology will revolutionise how food protein is produced, including making it more sustainable,”​ he told FoodNavigator.

Looking holistically at the protein landscape

Nutreco established its corporate investment arm, NuFrontiers, 4-5 years ago. It has made 18 investments in that time that address issues in animal protein production as well as supporting the development of alternative protein foods.

“Developing new protein sources are all exciting, they create a lot of buzz. But it is also very important to make existing sources of protein more sustainable and to up the performance, especially of the animal protein value chain. There are challenges there but technology can help address these,”​ Matthijssen observed.

Matthijssen said that ‘some years ago’ the protein space was divided into the diametrically opposed camps of proponents of animal and alternative proteins. This is not how Nutreco tries to evaluate the protein landscape.

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