Call for partners: Improving the sustainability and nutrition profile of food products

Current research mostly focus either on sustainability or healthy product developments, while the combination is essential in the transition towards an optimal food system. PPP BALANCE is an pre-competitive research project to enable its partners to improve their products on both elements simultaneously by providing the relevant insights, expertise and an unique collaboration framework.

Over the last decades, our society created a highly developed and complex food system providing a large variety of affordable food products. However, seminal research (e.g. EAT Lancet and others) clearly indicate that our current food system is not in BALANCE from a sustainability and health perspective: only sustainable for 3.4 bn, obesity, type II diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. How to translate these general/macro insights of our food system imBALANCE to specific insights and actions to improve product categories, ingredients and their value chains?

Our BALANCE approach

In close collaboration with private and public sector partners, WUR will define measurable criteria for a sustainable and healthy food system. This will be tested with food consumption in The Netherlands. For a range of product categories, scenarios towards 2030 are calculated based on the current system. This will help us to identify so called sustainability and health hotspots. A hotspot is an element with substantial impact on society that requires improvement.

Based on this analysis, WUR will describe a way forward to improve a product category and its value chain to mitigate or eliminate a specific hotspot. Phase 1 delivers a research proposal for phase 3 to develop pathways to improve both nutrition and sustainability with a focus on sustainable sourcing, food processing and consumer behavior. Within phase 2, we develop a tool to monitor and predict effects of possible interventions and apply these throughout phase 3 to critically monitor and sharpen the improvement strategies.

Want to join us?

We would like to invite all relevant stakeholders within the food chain with an interest in innovations towards healthy and sustainable food products to join this Public-Private-Partnership. The focus is on food sectors including meat, dairy, plant-based alternatives, bakery & cereal, confectionery, beverages and soups & sauces. We very much encourage retail organizations and ingredient suppliers to join as well.

The project will start in January 2021 and has a duration of 4 years in total. After year 1 you can decide to continue your participation. For phase 1, we are aiming for a broad consortium with a limited in-cash contribution of the partners. We are NOT searching for students who are searching for any form of internship.