Less than 3% of the agricultural land in Western Europe is used to grow protein-rich grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Of this produce, more than half goes to animals as fodder. Global challenges, such as climate change and food security demand Europeans to shifts diets from animal to plant-based protein. Fortunately, consumer demand for products such as cashew ‘cheese’, soy ‘milk’ and lupine ‘burgers’ is growing. However, with a few exceptions, their primary ingredients are imported from Asia, North and South-America. To reap the full benefits of a shift to a diet with more plant-based protein, we must cultivate the crops here in Western Europe. Farmers in Western Europe will cultivate more protein-rich grains, legumes, nuts and seeds if their profit and experience increases. A small group of farmers can kickstart this development, by processing and selling plant-based products themselves: plant-based farmstead savory. For centuries, farmers have made farmstead cheeses and sausages, but how to do this with legumes, grains, nuts or seeds?
Farmstead Savory assists farmers to cultivate and process legumes, grains, nuts and seeds into high value products on farm. Researchers have discovered lately how products such as canola, soy and lupin can be turned into milk-, sausage- and steak-analogues with relatively simple equipment. Most of this research is only applied by larger companies, as farmers do not have access to this knowledge and equipment. Farmstead Savory translates plant-based protein processing techniques into plug-and-play devices for farmers, accompanying them with marketing material and channels. To make profit, we want to take advantage of the high margins on plant-based produce and increasing consumer demand for farmstead produce. To start, we will assist one farm in Terwolde (Gelderland) with the processing of its high-protein wheat and soy into dried and smoked seitan and tofu respectively. With this farm as proof of concept, we want to scale out to more farmers and ultimately extend our portfolio to drink and shear cell technologies. This solution will not only help increase farmer profits of protein-rich crops, it will also imbed plant-based protein into the traditional food culture of Western-Europa and stimulate innovation.
Fabian Kemps Verhage