“The PCC facilitates theme development and networking between industries leading to new ideas”

Fred Beekmans is director R&D and Quality at Darling Ingredients International (formerly known as VION Ingredients), and is chair of the supervisory board of the Protein Competence Center (PCC).

Darling Ingredients International manufactures ingredients from animal by-products for highly diverse markets ranging from pharma, food, feed, and pet food to energy and fertilizer. The reuse of animal proteins, minerals, and fats is in the DNA of the company, which is reflected in the slogan “Improvement by Nature”. Fred Beekmans: “Full utilization and valorization of animal by-products requires knowledge and expertise that enables us to constantly innovate both in process technology as well as new product development. The innovation areas include the development of proteins with improved techno-functional properties, such as gelling and foaming, improved or new bio-functional properties, such as bone, joint, and gut health, and improved nutritional properties for food, feed and pet food applications. Process development are found in the area of bio-fuels and bio-phosphates.”

Fred Beekmans explains Darling Ingredients International’s interest in PCC: “Over 90% of our research is devoted to proteins such as gelatin / collagen, blood proteins, mucins, meat proteins, and it is therefore no surprise that we support and participate in the PCC. The Netherlands always had a strong competence in protein research and it is essential that this is retained to support the innovation ambitions of the industry. For this retention, it is essential that the industry takes responsibility to provide focus as well. By creating a consortium of knowledge and industrial partners, demand and solution are brought together in such a way that fundamental / pre-competitive knowledge can be made into applications. Moreover, a consortium with a critical mass like the PCC can also more effectively influence the complex environment of innovations, such as the changing subsidy landscape, regulations, impact of NGO’s and consumer trust.”

“The project set-up of the PCC highly attracts us. We are already involved in various consortia, and what we as a company need is focus and sufficient influence in projects. The PCC facilitates theme development and networking between industries leading to new ideas. In the flexible and open PCC consortium we expect to build basic protein knowledge to feed our innovations by working together with knowledge institutes and companies with other protein sources in pre-competitive projects. This will enable us to quickly learn from each other, and to develop and share methods, technologies, and (pilot) facilities. On the other hand the consortium leaves the opportunity to also perform competitive research with one of the knowledge partners or industrial partners, which may directly lead to new products or processes.“