Going beyond meat: Accelerating the green protein transition in the Netherlands

Did you know that only 20% of the energy we put into producing food on farmland is ultimately transformed into protein on our plates? For environmental and health reasons, it is vital to promote the consumption of vegetable protein as an alternative to meat and dairy products. However, in recent years little progress had been made in increasing sustainable protein consumption in the Netherlands.  In collaboration with DuurzaamDoor, part of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Rijksdienst Voor Ondernemend Nederland, RVO) and  the Food For Impact consultancy, NewForesight co-designed an approach to accelerate the protein transition by leveraging market forces.

The business case for going-plant based

The food industry is still in the early stages of a sector-wide shift to alternative proteins. To accelerate this transition by increasing the plant-based options, companies need to understand the business case for green protein.

-> Reach the flexitarian consumer

Less than 5% of the population identify as vegan or vegetarian, and this proportion hasn’t shifted much over the years. However, flexitarian eating patterns are being widely adopted, particularly among Millennials.

-> Benefits from a lower-cost model

Plant-based protein sources, such as legumes and grains, offer several benefits including lower costs, a longer shelf-life than animal products, and less price volatility.

-> Enhance your brand value

Consumers are increasingly seeking innovative dishes and are willing to pay more for products that are better for their health and the environment. Enhance your brand value with health and environmental sustainability aspects that customers appreciate.

Accelerate the transition by uniting front-runners

Not only should companies understand the business case of going plant-based, but consumers also need to know their options for choosing a more sustainable and healthier diet. By uniting a group of plant protein front-runners in the Netherlands, both sides of this food system can be accelerated. Based on our market transformation model, NewForesight provided the sector strategy for the leading market players on green proteins in the Netherlands. This strategy defined four key success factors in driving such a market-initiated transition:

  • Set a ‘dot on the horizon’ in the form of a shared vision and goals
  • Identify the problem, break it down into clear barriers, and translate these into solutions
  • Base thinking on the business case, focus on opportunities, and reward front-runners
  • Coordinate from a central hub in which short-term profit and long-term impact are of equal importance

The new coalition of front-runners was officially launched in 2016 as the Green Protein Alliance. This coalition will invest in the further development of this market-based approach to the protein transition. The Alliance currently has 25 business members, including retail organizations, and 10 knowledge partners. By joining forces, it is making great strides for the sustainable green protein sector in the Netherlands

Two reasons you should partner with NewForesight to accelerate the transition in your sector

1. We understand how to accelerate market-driven transformations for sustainability. Guided by our market transformation model, we define clear roles and responsibilities for various actors to accelerate change.

2. We go beyond the scope of a project and stay in close contact with the coalitions that drive change in their sectors.

Want to know more? Check out this video about the Green Protein Alliance: