This year, 2023, IFFI, Ingredients for Food Innovators, has existed for 15 years. And we are proud of that. We want to show this in the media and of course during our events. That’s why we give the floor to people who have been a member of the association for a long time. IFFI then and now. What is their vision?
|Name: Ruud Peerbooms
Living in: Oisterwijk
Year of birth: 1969
Function: President Algae Ingredients
How did you get into the food ingredients industry?
“I have started my career in the pharmaceutical industry as a business trainee at Akzo Nobel but after about 3 years moved into a commercial position at Loders Croklaan Lipid Nutrition, a new division focusing on Nutritional Ingredients for Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods. Since then, I have had various roles in the food ingredients industry”.
You work for Corbion, what do you do as a company?
¨Corbion is market leader in lactic acid and its derivatives and a leading supplier of functional enzyme blends, minerals, vitamins and algae ingredients.¨
¨We use our unique expertise in fermentation to deliver sustainable solutions for preserving food, food production, health, and our planet. Driving sustainability is in our DNA. Our products find their way into food, home & personal care, animal nutrition, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and bioplastics.¨
When did you get involved with IFFI?
¨IFFI was founded in 2008. At the time I was working and living abroad. When I moved back in 2011 to work for Kerry Ingredients it was really great to join the IFFI activities: dinner meetings, company visits and other IFFI gatherings. Many of my former colleagues were active IFFI members and it was a great platform to get connected to the ingredients industry in the Netherlands.¨
What do you see as the importance of IFFI?
¨IFFI is a business network. We connect people but we also want to inspire people to think and learn about topics beyond the day to day: Changes, trends and topics that are relevant for the entire industry: We all face the same challenges, share a the same interest and on top of that, enjoy being together to share thoughts and to create value.¨
IFFI then and IFFI now, what is the biggest change within the club?
¨In recent years, the food ingredients industry has undergone significant changes, driven by trends such as increasing consumer demand for healthier and more natural food, as well as a growing interest in plant-based and functional ingredients. This has led to a greater focus on developing clean label and sustainable ingredients, as well as new technologies that allow for greater customization and flexibility in food manufacturing.¨
¨Additionally we have seen a concentration of power at our customers and in retail and we now see this concentration among the food ingredients companies. We have experienced many mergers, acquisitions and restructurings and this has impacted the IFFI network. The names and the average size of the members has changed but the purpose is still the same. We have more members than ever before and this shows that there is a clear need for a network like IFFI.¨
What do you think is the best thing that IFFI has achieved so far?
¨We have established a group of loyal members, represented in the Executive Council and every year we welcome a few new members. This has resulted in a network of trust, friendships and collaboration but as said before it is important to be adaptive in a changing environment and this is what IFFI stands for. During COVID we found ways to maintain our network online and we implemented new ways to connect to each other.¨
¨We have also seen the increasing importance of innovation by start-up companies and this has resulted in the first IFFI startup Event. A great way to connect innovative start-ups with established ingredients companies. coupled with adaptability.¨
What do you wish for IFFI in 10 years?
¨We want to be purposeful in creating healthy, sustainable and affordable foods and in doing so we are different from other “industry associations” who typically focus on regulatory topics. Our network is focused on innovation and is therefore non-competitive. This is quite unique and so far we have not found equivalent networks in other countries. One of the ambitions we have expressed is that we want to expand our network outside the borders without losing our impact in the Netherlands. Creation of IFFI Europe would be one of my wishes.¨