Marchel Gorselink started as the new manager of the Fresh, Food & Chains business unit on 1 May. The mission (fresh and sustainable food) remains unchanged under his management, but the business unit will now focus on six key industry-based themes. Knowledge, internationalisation, cooperation and healthy growth of the business unit are also high on Gorselink’s agenda.
The six themes are healthy food, customised food, convenience food, sustainable value chains, food wastage and food security. These are all socially relevant subjects in great demand on the industrial market, as Gorselink is keen to stress.
Impact on industry
“The convenience theme, for example, is all about making it easier for consumers to eat healthy food”, says Gorselink. This involves on the one hand reformulating existing products to reduce the levels of salt, fat and sugar, and on the other hand communicating this to consumers and trying to persuade them to buy these healthier products, as well as more fruit and vegetables.
“Customised food is food that is developed for specific target groups, such as children and the elderly. We have a panel of more than a thousand over-50s, all living at home. They test our products and marketing concepts, enabling us to help companies in this market segment to grow.”
“The sustainable value chains theme covers all the questions we receive about storing, transporting and sorting fresh food products, plants and cut flowers. Is there a more sustainable way of transporting and storing them, which ensures optimum final quality for consumers?”
The expertise and knowledge used to develop these themes encompass the entire chain, from post-harvest technology, process and product development technology to consumer perception. “We always approach our work from different fields of expertise, analysing every problem from the context of the entire chain. This chain-based strategy makes us unique and means that we are at a huge advantage when it comes to searching for the best angle to approach and solve a business problem.”
Internationalisation and cooperation
According to Gorselink the most growth can be achieved in international projects. This makes efficient cooperation both inside Wageningen UR and with other partners crucial. The ambition for four years’ time is clear: “We want to raise our international profile. I want this to become a professional, comprehensive organisation, with even stronger ties to industry and knowledge institutes.”
At the same time, the new manager is also aiming for growth within his own organisation. “Food is hot. We normally see seasonal fluctuations, but since the summer of 2013, we have seen just one constant peak. So we’re now looking for new talent!”
Dr Marchel Gorselink succeeds Annemieke Beers , who was appointed Director Operations of the Agrotechnology & Food Sciences Group of Wageningen UR. Gorselink has worked at Food & Biobased Research since 2009, after spending more than ten years working in the food industry. He started out at Food & Biobased Research as Programme Manager for consumer groups, later moving on to become R&D Manager Consumer Science & Intelligent Systems and Managing Director of the Restaurant of the Future.