‘I’ll have a vegan schnitzel today’

Huib Vermeulen, responsible for business development of Codrico

Fact is, in 2050 more than 9 billion people will be dependent on the availability of food. To make this possible, the food industry needs to produce more efficiently, effectively and more sustainably. That is exactly where Codrico Rotterdam innovates, to be revealed at the Food Technology event during the IFFI program the 2nd of December, says Huib Vermeulen, responsible for business development of Codrico.  

Codrico is active in the production of high-quality ingredients on the basis of corn, wheat and legumes. Besides a corn mill we have invested 35 years ago in equipment for the thermal treatment of flour types, starch and proteins. This enables production of pre-gelatinized products with specific solubility and viscosity profiles, depending on the wishes of the customer.

Two years ago, Food Valley approached us to start the project. The question was: can Codrico apply its production capacity to answer the rising demand for plant-based proteins? This theme was on our agenda, thus it aligned well with our ambitions. The pilot was so successful that we came to the conclusion to broaden ourselves in this market. A market which grows strongly. Take only a look at the vegetarian segment. Instead of minced beef the consumer becomes more and more likely to buy vegetarian beef, to name one example. In short, in the field of meat replacements we are texturing plant-based proteins. Or expressed differently, we gave the product a texture which brings a certain mouthfeel, juiciness and bite, just like a product made with animal proteins.

Products on the basis of plant-based proteins are no novelty. When I started my career, I already sold textured soy proteins. At the time, it was a very different market. The market for plant-based products today is very trendy and the consumer wants to choose from a wider range of proteins than soy. Important themes are ‘more sustainable, clean label and local’. We anticipate this trend by making protein textures from local proteins like wheat, peas and fava beans. Besides that, our philosophy is to achieve a high-quality texture by using less modified raw materials, through the right treatment. Besides being more sustainable, it makes products also more affordable and accessible to a larger audience.

In short, participants of the Food Technology event will find out that food ingredients are interesting in terms of marketing and functionality. It’s a trendy market that you don’t just get to know in a couple of hours. Discussions on sustainability are hot and happening. If the average consumer would skip meat twice a week, we’d already be much better off. Plant-based proteins are not a niche for a couple of animal lovers. The mainstream consumer has to tell themselves: “I’ll have a vegan schnitzel today”.

Codrico is a member of IFFI, Ingredients for Food Innovators

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