Joint programme brings North-West Europe food innovations to market

A joint programme between the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany aims to bring a new business process for food products to the market through an innovation incubator that fuels cooperation and helps overcome common barriers. 

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The Food2Market programme brings North-West Europe food innovations to market.  © Mia Holleman The Food2Market programme brings North-West Europe food innovations to market. © Mia Holleman

" Food2Market has been instrumental in the process of finding the right partner in Germany. We knew we had a product that would do well on the German market, but we didn’t know where to start. The Food2Market sessions helped us focus our efforts and really paved the way for our leap across the border. "

Jeroen Willems, Ojah Sales Director.

Food innovation in Europe

The food industry is vital to the economy in certain areas of North-Western Europe, generating more than EUR 100 billion and employing more than 300 000 people annually in Flanders, the Netherlands, Lower Saxony and North-Rhine Westphalia. The regions enjoy strong trading relations due to geographical proximity, yet there are still boundaries in establishing relations for research, development, and innovation. 

The Food2Market (F2M) project aims to turn ideas and knowledge into new products and services that increase the regions’ competitiveness and allow them to react to market trends quickly, while accessing transnational markets. Two market drivers, sustainability and health-consciousness, serve as inspiration for the project. 

The project is based around a permanent transnational innovation incubator that helps partners overcome common barriers and facilitates international and interdisciplinary cooperation to ensure real impact. 

The project fosters partners’ in-house innovation capacities through training managers on how to incorporate innovation management processes into daily tasks. It assists partners in anticipating market trends and customer needs in order to meet demand, and links them to technology, facilities and providers across regions that can provide specific expertise in developing products and services. Finally, F2M builds partners’ capacity to introduce new products into new markets through assessing market potential and determining the most appropriate actions, while providing guidance throughout the innovation process. 

Long-term impact

Capitalising on the resources and knowledge available in four regional areas, the project covers the complete food to market cycle. It enables partners to be more agile in meeting market and consumer demands, giving them a strong and sustainable impact not only in developed areas, but also in rural areas where agriculture and food processing are located. Innovations developed throughout the programme could produce more sustainable and healthier food products and increase choice for consumers. 

Beneficiaries of the project include: Flanders’ FOOD, Belgium; Food-Processing Initiative e.V., Germany; Food Connection Point Innovatie, The Netherlands; and Deutsches Institut für Lebensmitteltechnik e.V., Germany.

Total Investment and EU Funding

Total investment for the project “Food2Market–Increasing North-West Europe SME’s Capacity to Bring Food Innovation to the Market” was EUR 2 479 398, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 1 239 699 from the Operational Programme “Interreg-North-West Europe” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period, under the priority axis “Capitalising on Innovation.” 

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