Interview of Gerard Klein Essink,Director of Bidge2Food

WGerard_kleinith 3 interconnecting platforms, Sports & Performance Nutrition, Healthy Aging, and Healthy Bars & Grain Snack, Bridge2Food creates opportunities to exchange information on specific topic between industry peers. Gerard Klein Essink, director of Bridge2Food, tells us a bit more about its events and proteins.

In your next coming Protein & Nutrition event, a large room is left for several nutritional aspects (sarcopenia, allergy…). Does it mean that there are always researches on these subjects? In which directions? Which subjects will be the most attractive for the attendees?

Gerard Klein Essink: The interest in the nutritional benefits of proteins for a better health has increased fastly in the past year, and will remain a major area for research and innovation in the coming decade. Sarcopenia and muscle disuse atrophy are very important research topics. What if we can improve the strength of elderly people by increasing the protein intake during the day and just before going to sleep? Less elderly people will fall, more will feel energized and confident to leave home, go places and be part of society. Nowadays, 25% of the people why die in the hospital, have entered the hospital as a result of falling. Delegates of the upcoming 2nd Top Class Protein Nutrition 2016, 23 & 24 June in The Netherlands can benefit from connecting different protein research fields: sarcopenia, bone and joint are closely related, but not yet in research fields and commercial strategies. Bridging these fields with thought leaders can help them in building and improving their technology road maps for food, nutrition and proteins. Other insights on consumer needs and benefits for proteins can be gained in two highly specialized Summits, which we at Bridge2Food will be hosting: 6th Sports & Performance Nutrition 2016 (14-16 June in Amsterdam) and 5th Healthy Ageing 2016 (12-14 October in The Netherlands)

Sustainability as well as the needs to feed a growing population seem to drive innovation for protein producers. Will you speak of these subjects? If not could this be the subject of a next course on proteins?

Gerard Klein Essink: Sustainability is a leading theme and driver for the food industry. How does this impact the ‘protein world’? The dairy industry is working hard on reducing their impact on emissions and water usage to reduce their sustainability foot print. This will indeed happen in a certain way, yet major food manufacturers also focus on using more plant proteins, which is a major driver for innovation by ingredient supplier and technology providers. Also universities work hard on new processes to reduce water consumption in extraction and separation technologies. Furthermore, the current interest of all stakeholders in a more bio-based and circular economy have a positive impact on making agriculture, food, and retailing more efficient. The focus on reverse engineering of processes as well as on waste and side streams will open new opportunities for a better world and a better and new availability of proteins. These topics will be important on the agenda of the next 9th Protein Summit 2016 in Lille coming September. New ingredients and also innovations in high protein plant-based foods will be showcased.

There are new protein sources – insects, algae, just to mention few examples. Are you planning to include them in your conferences? In which way could these new sources change the protein industrial landscape?

Gerard Klein Essink: The functionality and taste challenge. Extracting and purifying new protein sources from e.g. oat, algae, rapeseed, potato, pulses is not easy challenge, yet proving the benefits and finding the niche of these new proteins in finished foods is the biggest challenge. How do the new proteins compare to the existing one? How to mask the flavor of each unique ingredient? And which part of the protein fraction has which performance characteristic. I have worked for a food ingredient supplier and a food manufacturer and I realized a few years ago that there was a need for a training course in this field. We have brought together the industry suppliers of all proteins and have developed a hands-on course where theory and practice (taste, smell, touch and see) are combined in a unique way. The 11th Food Proteins Course, 9-11 November in The Netherlands, will allow food product developers to learn about the properties, functionalities and applications of 11 different plant and animal proteins. I am proud that we have had more than 1,000 product developers attending our courses in the past 10 years in Europe and the USA.

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