“In the PCC we seek collaboration with other partners in the protein field to speed up our innovation process, to share methods, technology, and facilities.”

Meeting Gerard Robijn, Group Manager Food Structuring, in the brand new FrieslandCampina Innovation Center in Wageningen is an inspiring experience. The atmosphere and the facilities in this ‘milky-white’ building are excellent, and also the building breaths sustainable and high tech business. Moreover, it is strategically positioned next to the Wageningen University campus, with additional expertise and facilities right around the corner. Gerard is happy to explain the position FrieslandCampina takes within the Protein Competence Center and what he expects to gain from and contribute to our network.

As Gerard explains: “Sustainable production is in our veins. Taking our societal responsibility in feeding our society with healthy foods in a sustainable way is really important to us.” By nature, the business of FrieslandCampina is centred around its main resource, milk. And being cooperative in nature, FrieslandCampina truly covers the whole chain, from grass to glass.

The interest of FrieslandCampina in the Protein Competence Center comes as no surprise, considering the content: protein is, next to lactose and milk fat, one of the main macro-components in milk. In addition, milk also contains a large number of less abundant, but biofunctionally very relevant micro-component proteins, such as lactoferrin. Gerard: “Protein is core business to us, both for its nutritional value, but also because of its indispensable qualities for technological functionality in a wide variety of products. We make products for all ages, starting with baby nutrition; but we also aim at our aging society, with foods to maintain or improve health at advanced ages. These are products we make ourselves, but equally important we are a key supplier of ingredients in B2B settings.”

“With the threat of an upcoming shortage in world protein supply around the corner, it is essential that the food industry strives to maximise the utilization of nutritional value of the available protein mass. For this, a lot or research still needs to be done, of which a lot can be done pre-competitively. This includes development of methods and generating general knowledge about protein functionality. By combining company efforts we will be able to get sufficient critical mass to free up the required resources and budget to generate this essential knowledge. The PCC is a good way for FrieslandCampina to do this.”

Gerard: “In the PCC we seek collaboration with other partners in the protein field to speed up our innovation process, to share methods, technology, and facilities. PCC must be open for all sectors; dairy, meat, plant, and alternatives. Extensive, cross-sectorial participation will increase the chances for success. It is now essential to speed up innovation and join efforts to find smart solutions for the world protein supply. We need to discover new opportunities and to ensure swift implementation in our business.”

Gerard Robijn is a member of the PCC Supervisory Board