Food Valley: Europe's hotspot for Agri-Food innovation
Food Valley, located in East Netherlands, tops the list of appealing investment regions for many Agri-Food innovators worldwide. It’s reputation as a European hotspot for pioneering in agriculture, food and nutrition, can be explained by some simple facts.
- Thanks to a strong tradition of entrepreneurship, innovation and collaboration, the Netherlands (‘Holland’) is the world's second largest exporter of agricultural products. It’s also the world’s third largest exporter of food processing machinery, and its third producer of vegetables and fruit.
- On top of that, East Netherlands is the home of Wageningen University & Research (WUR), world's number 1 agriculture university. WUR is at the centre of a thriving research and business community.
Food Valley’s status as an Agri-Food hotspot is illustrated by the presence of research and development labs, production facilities, and offices of more than 60 multinational Agri-Food corporations.
They find themselves in the good company of more than 3,000 SMEs operating in the same sector.
The list of globally operating companies in the greater Food Valley area includes household names such as:
- Kraft Heinz, Unilever, Nestlé, Cargill, FrieslandCampina, and Mead Johnson.
- Other big names include CRV, Kikkoman, Mérieux NutriSciences, Givaudan, Yili, Keygene, Arla Foods, 2 Sisters Storteboom, De Heus, Hoogwegt,
- Bieze Food Group, Dupont, Innova Market Insights, Moba, Vion, Dishman, and Jansen Poultry Equipment.
Supported in many ways by Oost NL, all of them once made the strategic decision to set up shop in a region that is connected with Agri-Food networks in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.
Food Valley is home to a wide array of public/private Agri-Food knowledge organizations.
They include research universities, academic medical centers, research institutes, and universities of applied sciences, all offering companies in the region access to new ideas, precious human capital and state-of-the-art infrastructure.
- Wageningen University & Research (WUR), the largest food, nutrition and agriculture research community in the world, ranks in the top-30 of life sciences universities globally. Its more than 6,500 staff and 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students from over 100 countries focus on healthy food and the living environment.
- Radboud University and Medical Center (Nijmegen), a century-old general research university with almost 5,000 staff and over 22,000 undergraduate and graduate students, specializes in organic chemistry, microbiology, infectious diseases, immunology, human genetics, and brain research, among many other fields.
- University of Twente is a multicultural community of talented, ambitious people that offers students, scientists and educators from around the world the best possible conditions. It has over 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 3,300 staff. Core technologies, among the world’s best, in fields such as nanotechnology and biomedical engineering, IT, robotics and geo-information science, are major research fields of this energetic university, which has spun off more than 1,000 companies so far.
Food Valley comprises many high-end Agri-Food research institutes, which cover the full spectrum of research from molecule to market and from basic science to applied (contract) research.
- NIZO food research, specialized in proteins, bacteria, and processing;
- Wageningen Food Safety Research, focused on food safety & quality and specialized in detecting and analyzing substances in food & feed;
- Wageningen Plant Research, covering the entire Agri-Food chain with research ranging from ‘omics’ and bioinformatics to food safety/security, crop protection/ecology and agro systems;
- Wageningen Livestock Research, focused on livestock farming systems, nutrition, genetics, animal welfare, and environmental impact;
- Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, applied research for sustainable innovations in healthy food, fresh food chains and biobased products.
Universities of applied sciences
- Approximately 100,000 (under)graduate students receive training at various universities of applied sciences in cities and towns across the greater Food Valley area.
- They all offer education programs relevant to the Agri-Food sector.
Agri-Food innovation in Food Valley enjoys enthusiastic and consistent support from governments at regional, national, and European levels.
- At the European Union level, collaborative projects of Food Valley participants have raised millions or euros from EU Framework Programmes.
- At the national level, the Dutch government has named the Agri-Food sector as one of the country’s nine innovation priorities. Hundreds of millions of euros have been allocated for co-funding of public-private Agri-Food collaboration projects.
- Regional governments, i.e. the provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel, provide support in many ways, e.g. through Agri-Food venture capital funding and through active encouragement of business campuses and public-private networks.
The Food Valley region provides Agri-Food businesses companies with an international, well-trained labour pool:
- Tens of thousands of Agri-Food researchers at various levels.
- Even more students at undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels are trained in Agri-Food-related disciplines.
- Many options are available for employees’ continuous education.
- The workforce’s highly international background serves as a bonus: virtually all the world’s nationalities are represented among professionals and students.
Establish your business at a strategic location
Part of Food Valley’s allure is its strategic location, right between and very close to the economic engines of Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands and the German Ruhr District.
East Netherlands offers an excellent work, live, and play environment:
- companies and employees profit from top-rated connectivity: both digital and transportation infrastructures that include Europe’s largest seaport and airports serving global destinations.
- employees and their families enjoy excellent healthcare and education systems.
- the Netherlands is top-ranking in the 'World Happiness Report' for many years.
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