At the Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research Inspiration Day, on 10 April 2014, the research institute showed its business relations that it has even more to offer than they already knew. “I’ve been working with the food researchers for years and I’m always impressed by their knowledge and solutions. Today I’ve learned more about the incredible things that are being done in Wageningen regarding biobased research”, said Willem van Zeben of Sodexo, one of the 200 visitors of the Food & Biobased Research Inspiration Day 2014.
Plenty to see at Food & Biobased Research
There was a lot to see for the visitors. Dozens of researchers presented their work in nicely decorated stands. In the Tech Hall, biobased applications were shown to turn grass or seaweed into plastics or chemicals and dandelions into car tyres. Technologies to improve the quality of food, like mild preservation techniques and food reformulation possibilities (replacing unhealthy ingredients by healthy ones, without compromising on the sensory quality) were presented in the Food Hall. In the Qualitron building and Vision Labs, visitors saw how post-harvest losses are being reduced, thanks to Food & Biobased Research’s solutions to create optimal transportation, storage and packaging conditions for fruits, vegetables and flowers. Research into consumer acceptance of food products were showcased in the Restaurant of the Future, like sniffing tests and face reading tests. And many visitors of the Inspiration Day took this opportunity to look around in AlgaePARC, where research is done to find efficient ways to grow algae as a source for both food and biobased applications.
Economically viable sustainable development
The day had started with three symposia that explained how all the work done at Food & Biobased Research fits into the institute’s ambitions to create added value for its clients by contributing to sustainable development. One symposium focused on the development of healthy and delicious food, the focus of a second symposium was on designing smart chains to make sure that fresh produce (food and flowers) reaches consumers in an excellent condition, and the theme of a third symposium was to turn biomass into a wide range a high-value components for biobased materials and chemicals.
Excellent networking opportunity
The Food & Biobased Research Inspiration Day 2014 proved to be an excellent networking opportunity. “I am here to get a broader scope on lignin and fibre valorisation, but also to strengthen the existing ties with Wageningen UR”, said Matthew de Roode, Innovation Manager at Sensus (Royal Cosun). Mindy Danial, working on R&D at ADM Cocoa, came to see whether Food & Biobased Research could find innovative ways to put cocoa shells to good use. “It was a nice day. I’m impressed with what I’ve seen and heard here and I will definitely share this with my colleagues.”
Opening iLAB Biobased Products
The afternoon programme was concluded with the opening of the Innovation Lab Biobased Products Wageningen, a facility to help start-up companies to develop and valorise their biobased products. Andres Belalcazar of the start-up PectCof explained why such a facility is important. Starting a company in life sciences, he said, requires expensive equipment and reaping the fruits from research and development could take years.
Gerard van Harten, chairman at the national Topsector Chemistry, and Annemieke Traag, member of the Executive Council of the Province of Gelderland, officially opened iLAB Biobased Products. Erik van Seventer, business unit manager Biobased Products at Food & Biobased Research, received a token that comes with getting the iLAB status from the Topsector Chemistry.
End note by Lambert van Nistelrooij
EU-parliamentarian Lambert van Nistelrooij, rapporteur for a new European public-private partnership for the biobased economy, spoke about using the knowledge on biobased that is developed in Europe and turning it into earning capacity for Europe.
During the VALUE lottery, Raoul Bino, general director of the Agrotechnology & Food Sciences Group of Wageningen UR, handed out two VALUE vouchers for research at Food & Biobased Research. Winners of these €5000 vouchers were Joep van Balen of Enza Zaden and Jan Smits of Kenniscentrum Plantenstoffen.
Coming up: Biobased Performance Materials Symposium
On Thursday, June 12th 2014, the fourth Biobased Performance Materials symposium will take place in Wageningen. Register now for the whole day and make sure you discover the very latest news from the field of biobased performance materials. More information is available on the BPM website and you can register using this form.