FOSS goes plant-based: The Netherlands is leading the way

The plant-based food industry is in constant development, changing and challenging the way we look and produce the food we consume. The Netherlands is leading the way, but what drives this development and why is plant-based alternatives more popular among Dutch consumers than in the rest of Europe?


The global plant-based food industry is in rapid growth, and nowhere has consumers embraced the shift towards plant-based products better than in the Netherlands. According to data, the Dutch population consume the most plant-based products per person in Europe and are also the population that spend the most money on meat replacement products. According to the research, the total sale of plant-based meat and dairy products rose 50% in the Netherlands over the past two years to EUR 291 million, and plant-based cheese sales rose by 400% during the period.


Speaking with the FOSS Segment Sales Manager for plant-based in Benelux, René Stoffels, there is no doubt that the Dutch consumer is a step ahead when it comes to buying and consuming plant-based products. “A lot has happened during the last five years, and the average supermarket in the Netherlands now has as many plant-based products as conventional products” René says and continues. “The most popular products are ready-to-eat products made locally in the Netherlands simulating dairy, fish, chicken, and minced meat. And we see a lot of innovation in the industry where milk made from grass is only one of the things currently being tested.”   

A plant-based incentive 

The Netherlands is at the forefront of production and research into a more plant-based future, and the biggest supermarket chain in the Netherlands, Albert Heijn is now focusing on plant-based as standard aiming to ensure that 60% of consumed proteins are plant-based by 2030. To support the movement the supermarket is keeping the price down on alternative meat products with a price equal to or cheaper than conventional meat.   


As part of the multinational retail and wholesaling company Ahold Delhaize, Albert Heijn is not alone in its plant-based venture. In a time where everything from meat, dairy, vegetable, bread, and petrol has become more expensive due to inflation, the cost of plant-based products in the Netherlands has been kept down. According to statistics made by ProVeg international the price of plant-based meat alternatives in the Netherlands has only increased with 5% compared to meat that increased 25% since February 2022. In this way, plant-based meat alternatives is now cheaper on average than conventional meat in the Netherlands.


The Dutch government play a part in making it the smart choice to invest in the plant-based economy. The vision is to make The Netherlands a world leader in the plant-based economy by 2030. This implies a commitment to creating and sharing knowledge and innovation as well as creating favorable legislations and regulations toward the plant-based industries. 


In a time with accelerating demands for more effective and sustainable use of the world's resources, there is a big focus on the transition towards more plant-based industries and many countries are looking at what is going on in The Netherlands these years. According to FOSS´ in-house plant-based foods specialist Mette Skau Mikkelsen there is still a lot of research needed to boost the plant-based industry. “While the industry has grown tremendously in recent years, there is still a lot of missing knowledge related to nutrition and texture of plant-based food.” Mette explains and continues “FOOD Valley is a region in the Netherlands where international companies, research institutes and Wageningen University and Research Centre are concentrated. Within a few years, they have become frontrunners in plant-based research and created a forum where knowledge and experiences can be shared. FOSS is part of one of the leading plant-based forums Bridge2Food, where we are sharing our knowledge and analytical solutions to optimize, improve and drive the plant-based food development.” She says and concludes “FOSS has been working closely together with plant-based food manufacturers and several FOSS instruments now have Analytics Packages providing solutions for both raw materials, plant-based milk, and meat alternatives. This have made us leaders in the field, and I see a big potential for analytics to aid the plant-based food industry in the years to come”.  


Our analytical solutions for the industry will be exhibited at Plant Based Expo in London in
November. Read more about Europes biggest 100% plant-based event here: Welcome to Plant Based World Expo, Europe