From plant products with a high protein quality to personalised nutrition and mild processing techniques, there are many opportunities for innovations which make food healthier and more sustainable. Wageningen University & Research (WUR) offers the food industry the fundamental knowledge and insights required to achieve pioneering innovations. WUR is one of the few research institutions worldwide that performs food research with a focus on the health of the general population, while the Gerrit Grijns Initiative brings together the expertise and infrastructure that society needs to find answers to the most complex issues regarding food and health.
From babies to centenarians, food has a major impact on the mental and physical functioning and wellbeing of people. Scientists from Wageningen University & Research are unravelling the underlying mechanisms of this effect and are supporting the food industry in translating this knowledge into innovative products – a must in a world where people are living ever-longer and in which both obesity and malnutrition are major issues. A world in which raw materials are increasingly scarce and there are growing demands for high-quality sources to provide sufficient protein to the expanding global population in a sustainable way.
Wageningen University & Research is a world leader in resolving complex issues related to food and health. With our broad knowledge and expertise in nutrition, health and the production of healthy, high-quality and tasty food, we are an international frontrunner in this field. In the Gerrit Grijns Initiative there are more than 25 professors in various disciplines who work closely together with industry, governments and other knowledge partners to develop innovations aimed at a long and healthy life for all.
The Gerrit Grijns Initiative revolves around fundamental research in the field of protein quality, personalised nutrition and the mild processing of food products; research themes that provide ample opportunities for innovation but involve many challenges as well. How are plant-based food products developed that are equivalent to their animal counterparts in terms of protein quality? What are the dietary needs of children, the elderly and other target groups for targeted or even personalised nutrition, and how can they be translated into attractive products? And can food be mildly processed and still maintain a long shelf-life and preservation of the nutritional value?
Our broad, interdisciplinary approach also translates into education in the field of food, nutrition and health. We integrate new insights from research in (thesis) classes and educational material for MSc and BSc students. This way we ensure that Wageningen alumni, the leaders and innovators of tomorrow, know like no other how to resolve complex issues related to food and health in an interdisciplinary way.
In addition to the latest scientific insights, cutting-edge research and the best research facilities and methods provided by Wageningen University & Research, companies, government bodies and other organisations that work with the Gerrit Grijns Initiative also have access to top scientific talent and an extensive international network. WUR is one of the few research institutions worldwide that performs research with a focus on the health of the general population, including long and short term benefits. In addition, our university is ranked number 1 in the field of food technology (Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities) and is in the top 3 in food sciences (CWUR World University Rankings).
From probiotic food products for tackling obesity to plant-based, protein-rich dairy for the elderly, good nutrition has a significant health potential and the opportunities for product development are unparalleled. It is up to us and our partners to embrace and utilise the prospects that lie ahead and ensure together that people worldwide enjoy a longer and healthier life.