WAGENINGEN/EDE (NL), 6 October 2021 – Today, NIZO, a Contract Research Organization in Food and Health, and StartLife, the Dutch agrifoodtech accelerator, announced that they have entered into a strategic and operational partnership to support food and agtech startups shaping a sustainable food system. Thanks to a blend of accelerator expertise and facilities, the strategic partnership can help startups with both individual challenges and longer-term plans.


People are increasingly looking for food choices with demonstrable health benefits that don’t unduly harm our planet. For many, that means turning more to plant-based foods – the so-called protein transition. Yet fast-paced modern lifestyles mean that they still want food to be quick, simple and convenient. Both for startups as well as existing manufacturers, there is growing commercial pressure to show they are minimizing their environmental footprint by reducing energy consumption, water usage and (packaging) waste. But amid all this change, one fact of food production remains constant. If it doesn’t have the right look, (mouth)feel and, above all, taste – it won’t sell. This is where the partnership between StartLife and NIZO comes in. Together, they provide startups with promising solutions, and the facilities and services needed to get their products market-ready.


Loet Rammelsberg, Program Director StartLife: “StartLife believes that startups are a very important force behind the agrifoodtech innovations required to meet global food demand in the future. But bringing an innovative food product from a small lab scale to large scale production is not an easy feat. Once a technology proves successful on a small scale, the technical feasibility and economic viability of large-scale production also need to be verified . And if it is, what is the best way to do it? Together with NIZO, we can help startups find answers to these critical questions.” NIZO helps food and health startups innovate to meet changing consumer demands in food and health. Their multidisciplinary development and pilot production plant enables their customers to quickly and successfully bring new food products to market.


In the past ten years, StartLife has provided business development support and funding to more than 400 early-stage startups, propelling breakthrough technologies in the domains of food and agriculture. “With the largest pilot plant in Europe for third-party use and suitable for food-grade processes at close distance to StartLife, we are really pleased to have entered into a strategic partnership with NIZO,” says Rammelsberg.  Ben van der Deen, Business Development Manager NIZO feels the same way. “A holistic view is something that we at NIZO specialize in. We have the expertise to support startups throughout the entire process of bringing a new food products to market. The combination of StartLife’s business development support and NIZO’s expertise in getting from R&D to market introduction ensures that startup have all the know-how available to save time and money in food innovation. This ensures that all levels of innovation are science-based and fully verified to meet fast market introduction.”


Corjan van den Berg, CEO and co-founder of FUMI Ingredients, a young  Wageningen University of Research spin-off company, already benefits from this new partnership. He explains: “In previous years, we successfully developed a proof-of-concept technology that allows animal-based ingredients to be replaced with a high-quality alternative made from brewery yeast residuals.” With animal-based proteins currently being the most important ingredient in food products, this plant-based technology may replace the need for a large amount of animals, reduce food waste and lower carbon dioxide emissions by 95 percent. “StartLife helped us build a strong business case. And now, with the support of NIZO, we are further developing and upscaling the technology to a large-scale pilot. And the results are looking really promising.”

Van der Deen: “It is a pleasure working with Corjan and his team. We believe that their solution has huge potential and are fully committed to helping them succeed. Together with StartLife, we look forward to supporting more such promising startups and helping make a difference.”


NIZO’s wide-ranging expertise as a Contract Research Organization helps customers successfully address their food and health challenges: from managing the protein transition or delivering real health benefits to maintaining food safety and scaling up to industrial production. Through multidisciplinary teams and a unique pilot production plant, we bring all the expertise together to deliver cost and time-to-market savings.  And we can provide support through the entire innovation process; from R&D to (pilot) production. For additional information, please visit: www.nizo.com



Tomorrow’s global food supply challenges demand a radical approach to innovation in the food and agriculture sectors today. Due to their innovative capacity, StartLife believes that startups are the propelling force behind the agrifoodtech innovations required to meet global food demand in the future. StartLife has worked with startups for over ten years. Thus far, we have supported more than 400 startups that develop technological innovations in the domains of foodtech and agtech. Our mission is to accelerate agrifoodtech startups shaping a sustainable food system. For additional information, please visit: www.start-life.nl