Dutch Collaboration Nurtures Innovation (Online Exclusive) DONNA BERRY | June 1, 2009

An online-only, four article supplement detailing how government investments in R&D are facilitating advancements in food product development, how food researchers in industry, academia, and government partner to turn ideas into commercial successes, how pilot plants and ‘living’ labs enable product developers to test and advance their concepts, and how research and technology are converging to detect and control foodborne pathogens in minimally processed foods.

Formulating with the World
Through government investments in R&D, the Netherlands facilitates advancements in food product & process development and fosters entrepreneurship.

From off -shore oils to ethnic seasonings, today’s food technologists embrace globalization in their sourcing of new product concepts, ingredients, and technologies. An increasing number also recognize the value of a centralized research and development region where agriculture and food industry experts benefi t from each other’s presence.

Innovation Powerhouse
In the Netherlands, food researchers in industry, academia, and government collaborate to turn ideas into breakthrough technologies and commercial successes.
To make wholesome, nutritious, and tasty foods, it is essential that food scientists pool their knowledge and resources together in a multidisciplinary approach. Sometimes, government assists when and where needed. In the Netherlands, the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture has taken a proactive approach, initiating programs that support the country’s agrifood business through eff orts that start with the farmer and extend to the consumer.

Scaling Up Inventiveness
Pilot plant facilities and ‘living’ laboratories enable entrepreneurs and product developers to test and advance their concepts under real-world conditions.

Formulating product is the fi rst of three “p’s” to being ready for market. The other two are process and package, and many innovators do not have the resources to tackle these endeavors on their own. Further, consumer behavior, including sensory studies, as well as clinical testing of products designed to prevent or treat some health-related issue, is something best left to the experts ... all of whom can be found in the Netherlands. “Food Valley offers many facilities.

Going Dutch on Food Safety
As consumer preferences shift toward minimally processed foods, research and technology converge to detect and control foodborne pathogens.

When public health scares are tied to the food supply, an entire food category, even an entire country, can be negatively impacted. For instance, the U.S. beef export industry might never recover fully from a few isolated cases of mad cow disease. Further, pork producers saw sales slide due to the recent swine fl u scare, although the disease cannot be contracted from eating pork.

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