Schouten Europe and Agrifirm will investigate the feasibility of a local chain of tempeh products based on Dutch soybeans and fava beans this year. Both companies announced this during the start of World Pulses Week (February 3-10), during which the consumer activation #BEANMEAL also takes place.
From left to right in the photo: Toon Driessen (Schouten Europe), Rens Kuijten (Agrifirm), Henk Schouten (Schouten Europe), Michiel Meeuse (Agrifirm), Maureen de Haan (Agrifirm), and Peter Schouten (Schouten Europe)
Agrifirm is a leading company in the agricultural sector, focusing on providing products and services to livestock farmers and growers to improve the productivity and sustainability of agricultural businesses. Schouten Europe specializes in the production of meat substitutes and other plant-based protein products, responding to the growing demand for sustainable and plant-based foods. The collaboration with Agrifirm stems from the Bean Deal, part of the National Protein Strategy.
New Market Concepts
“Agrifirm is committed to the protein transition. Together with chain partners and growers, we are working on new market concepts where cultivation has virtually no environmental impact. This leads to better biodiversity, while maintaining or even improving returns for the grower,” says Rens Kuijten, Business Developer Plant-Based Solutions at Agrifirm.
“In recent years, various chain projects have been initiated with the food industry focused on the cultivation and processing of soybeans and fava beans into ingredients for plant-based food. The collaboration with Schouten aligns perfectly with this,” Kuijten adds.
Henk Schouten from Schouten Europe says, “At Schouten, we have a lot of experience in producing tempeh. Instead of using soy from abroad, we prefer Dutch soybeans or fava beans. We are pleased to partner with Agrifirm on this. The collaboration will investigate the quality and technical feasibility of processing Dutch soybeans and fava beans. Additionally, we will explore the commercial viability and possible business models for all parties in the chain.”
Schouten continues, “In 2023, with support from Agrifirm, we started a pilot with 1 hectare of soybean cultivation with growers in Woudrichem. This year, more growers will be involved in this collaboration. They will cultivate different soybean varieties.”
Dutch pulses are used for the production of tempeh. Tempeh is an ancient protein source obtained through the fermentation of soybeans or other types of beans. Tempeh is entirely plant-based, containing about 22 grams of protein per 100 grams, and is rich in vitamin B, minerals, and fibers. Tempeh is easily digestible, and many health benefits are attributed to the product.
Schouten aims to introduce tempeh to the Dutch consumer through the hospitality and foodservice channels. Collaboration with restaurants will also be sought. “Tempeh is an interesting product for chefs because they can create various dishes and flavor it themselves,” says Henk Schouten.
The use of locally grown proteins in its products aligns with Schouten’s future vision. “We are pleased that we can now take concrete steps in this direction together with Agrifirm,” concludes Henk.
Photo: Product developers at work in Schouten’s R&D kitchen
Schouten started in 1990 as a pioneer in the development of meat substitutes based on plant proteins. The company now markets one of the most extensive and varied assortments globally and supplies its meat and fish substitutes, under private label, in more than 50 countries.
The company also develops many products based on customer demand. In the area of tempeh, Schouten is also very active in India, where local tempeh is produced to provide the Indian population with high-quality protein products.