Fermentation project gets green light for NWO Perspective program

Systems scientist CÚdric Middel investigated which components in the Dutch food
Systems scientist CÚdric Middel investigated which components in the Dutch food system create unhealthy supermarket environments, and how to change this.
Supermarket shelves are filled with them, but plant-based alternatives for dairy and meat are not always tasty. The research by fermentation scientist Herwig Bachmann aims to change that: NWO gives the green light to his project in a new round of the Perspective program for technological innovation. Bachmann is pleased with the approval. "This enables us to design better fermentation processes. That will result in tastier and more sustainable plant-based products in the supermarket."

Bachmann ’s research is one of the seven projects that NWO approves this round. He and his team receive a budget, including co-financing, of 5.3 million euros, funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK).

The project, named ’FERMI’, aims to improve the predictability of fermentation processes and thus find the optimal production method. The goal is to produce plant-based alternatives for dairy and meat that taste better, have a better texture, and have higher nutritional value. And that is much needed, according to Bachmann and his team. Over a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the food production chain. "If we replace animal proteins in our diet with plant-based alternatives, this emission will decrease dramatically," says the project description. "In addition, plant-based diets are healthier."

Every year, researchers can apply for the NWO Perspective program. In this program, scientists, companies, and social organizations collaborate on technological innovations with societal impact. This year, the Ministry of EZK makes a total of almost 24 million euros available for the Perspective program. Visit the NWO website for an overview of all awarded research projects.