Wageningen University & Research and Protein industries Canada partner up to support protein transition

April 20, 2023

Plant-based foods offer a solution to some of the most pressing issues facing humanity: climate change and human health. Protein Industries Canada and Wageningen University & Research agree the protein transition is an indispensable step towards a sustainable future. The organizations are committed to collaborating on the exchange of knowledge to accelerate the transition on both sides of the Atlantic.

On April 20, representatives of Protein Industries Canada met with President Sjoukje Heimovaara of Wageningen University & Research (WUR). Heimovaara is currently in Canada as part of a trade mission with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. Both Canada and The Netherlands have a significant agricultural sector, which could contribute to a more plant-based future.

Mrs. Heimovaara of WUR: “Food systems have a considerable impact on the planet, which implies this is also where solutions can be found. Our currentsystem depletes our natural resources, and the increasing demand foranimal-sourced foods exacerbates this problem. Furthermore,proteins are not equitably shared. Over-consumption co-exists withscarcity.​ We need a transition towards a sustainable, equitable and balancedfood system. I believe that living within the planetary boundaries is humanity’s greatest challenge. And we need each other’s knowledge and expertise for that. Canada is a global leader in the protein transition and a natural partner for The Netherlands with complementary expertise.”

Frank Hart, Chair of Protein Industries Canada: “Plant-based foods offer a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Canada. As the global demand for protein grows, now is the time to support the transition to more plant-based sources. Plant-based ingredients and foods offer not only an economic opportunity for Canada, but they can also be a part of the solution to reach our climate goals, while supporting a healthy diet for people around the world. Protein Industries Canada is pleased to formalize our relationship with the Netherlands and Wageningen University & Research as we both work together to advance the protein transition. WUR has demonstrated leadership in plant-based foods and offers an incredible opportunity for Canada to learn from them and build partnerships to the benefit of both our ecosystems.”

Towards cooperation

The first steps in exploring more cooperation have already been taken. In February 2023, The Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, the Southern Agriculture and Horticulture Organization, Wageningen University & Research, Larive International B.V., and Next Food Collective launched a master plan for the protein transition as an economic engine in The Netherlands. The initiative, Economically-Powered Protein Transition through Innovation in Chains (EPPIC), aims to launch work in early 2024. Protein Industries Canada is one of the 86 participating partners.

To express her appreciation for Protein Industries Canada as a partner, at the meeting Mrs. Heimovaara handed over the newly published book Our Future Proteins, in which more than 100 experts share their views on sustainable protein production and consumption, and provide new perspectives on the protein transition.

Planetary boundaries

Planetary boundaries are a framework to describe limits to the impacts of human activities on the Earth system. Beyond these limits, the environment may not be able to self-regulate anymore.