NETHERLANDS – Japanese food ingredients company Fuji Oil Holdings, has established its fourth R&D center in Netherlands to enable it take part of the plant-based revolution that is currently taking place in Europe.  

According to a statement from the company, the new center is based on the Wageningen Campus in the heart of the Dutch Food Valley where it will be able to have easy access to the technical trends and innovations that are impacting global food systems.   

Dr. Liz Kamei, currently director of open innovation and external partnerships at Fuji Europe and Africa, has been appointed as the head of the new center. 

Fuji Oil’s foray into Europe’s plant-based sector is happening at a time when the market is experiencing explosive growth mainly driven by a growing trend toward vegan diets and incorporating plant proteins in processed foods. 

Allergies caused by animal proteins and the abundant amount of nutrients present in plant proteins have also been identified by Mordor Intelligence as factors driving the customers toward consuming plant proteins. 

According to the market research firm, the European plant protein market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.66% during the forecast period, 2021-2026 to reach US$3.8 billion by 2026.  

With over 50 years of experience working with soy protein, Fuji has something unique to offer the European market as it understands Soy’s functionality and breadth of applications.  

Fuji Oil’s Kamei believes that the experience gained working with soy and innovating both technologies and products for this material gives Fuji Oil the tools that can be applied to other plant proteins of interest.   

Thanks to this experience she says the company can play a part in solving social issues through supporting the “protein transition” through plant-based food ingredients.  

“Being located on the Wageningen Campus will speed up this process enormously,” adds Kemei.  

“Further, being located here means that we are better able to understand the needs of European customers and consumers and integrate their needs into our innovation activities.” 

Following the launch of the R&D center, experts at Fuji Oil’s Global Innovation Center Europe (GICE) will work with partners from academia and industry to identify, evaluate and speed up the deployment of new technologies that align with the group’s ambitions to contribute to resolving social issues. 

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