Vegetarian food from a new innovation center in the Xan region, savored in a private ‘grilling room’

Oil and fat producer Aak wants to launch a new plant-based food innovation center. Through this center, Aak is responding to the growing demand for plant-based meat and dairy alternatives. In Lagedijk’s business premises, the three-storey building provides space for, among other things, vegetable fat and oil laboratories, several kitchens and tasting rooms.

In Aak, they were happy that the new art show was officially opened on March 28 by Minister Mikki Adriansens (VVD, Economic Affairs and Climate). Unfortunately, that won’t happen, but Adriaansens had time for a short visit on Wednesday. Tasting new products to be developed here has not yet been an option because most of the machines are still in plastic and research will start after March 28th.

Customers like Beyond Meat, Oatly, and Danone will soon be able to get a look behind the scenes at Aak. “For example, we investigate which fats give the best results in meat alternatives. It’s not just about the taste, but also about the texture,” says the Supply Chain Manager. wind bass.

investigation room

A separate room has been set up in the innovation center where test subjects can be followed in different ways as they test new products. Just like in the interrogation room, this room also has a mirrored wall behind which the observation room is located. There are also cameras and microphones. Everything to observe how the test subjects interact with the products that come from the laboratory on the ground floor. Do they like it, is the structure good, what can be improved or what is already good? These are all questions that can be answered in this way.

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During the minister’s visit, it was not only about the technologies used in the innovation center, deforestation and new legislation in this regard were also discussed. Suitable for Aak because they use palm oil from Indonesia, among other things. Imports of products that contribute to deforestation are likely to be banned in the EU. The European Parliament and Member States have reached a provisional agreement on this matter. It concerns products such as wood, cocoa, coffee, soybeans, palm oil, beef and rubber. Products are prohibited if they come from land that was deforested after December 2020.

Sustainability director Caroline Westrick says AAC is already doing as much as it can to combat deforestation. “The palm oil used in Zandijk is certified 100% sustainable and therefore free of deforestation. For example, we use satellite imagery to monitor what is happening around the oil plants of the companies we trade with. If we see a road being built, the risk of deforestation is greater. Then We’ll contact you immediately to find out what’s going on.”

However, the new legislation goes too far. If passed, Aak fears for the fate of farmers in Indonesia, among others. With the new law, companies must provide accurate geographic information and ensure full traceability. Farmers must show that they own their land. This is a problem, because many small farmers do not have title papers or are difficult to obtain. This ensures the marginalization of small farms ».

Minister Adriaansens also described the new law as “not perfect”. “I can’t make any promises, but I think it would be a good idea to file a counterproposal with a number of other parties,” she told AK representatives.

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