NETHERLANDS – Two Dutch Cooperatives, FrieslandCampina and Agrifirm have partnered to pilot the cultivation of oats and soy on 200 and 50 hectares, respectively, in Netherlands. 

The project involves 30-member dairy farms of FrieslandCampina, which will use the crops as raw materials for expanding plant-based food production.

The partnership highlights a growing consumer appetite for product diversity, as each company has launched plant-based versions of staple house brands.

Thomas Gribnau, marketing director at FrieslandCampina, stated that they had already launched several plant-based products for their consumers in the Netherlands which includes the Friesche Vlag Barista Haver, Chocomel and Campina plant-based.

Depending on the results from this year’s project, Gribnau noted that the companies will make a plan for 2024 to lead the learning points from this trial and scale up where possible.

He believes that by launching the trial, the companies will gain experience together to gain an attractive earning model for the farmer.

“The next step is to explore whether member dairy farmers can start locally producing the raw materials for plant-based products. That’s why we are launching this trial,” Gribnau added.

According to Rens Kuijten, concept manager of Protein Plants at Agrifirm, member dairy farmers’ interest in participating was “beyond expectations.”


“This pilot aims to investigate the technical, economic feasibility. In addition to sufficient market potential, a good revenue model for the farmer is also an important condition,” Kuijten explained. 

“This collaboration responds to growing consumer demand for product diversity since plant-based variants fit perfectly into our product range and consumer research confirms this.”

Kuijten added that this is an opportunity for Agrifirm and affiliated chain parties to gain more experience in growing, processing, and marketing plant-based protein for the food industry.

By offering both dairy and plant-based products, the companies will serve consumers who want variety in the brands, so they do not have to switch to competitors.

While soy in the Netherlands is still an experimental crop, the growth prospects are high, partly given the current market development and the development of new varieties for North West Europe.

Peter Aalberts, a dairy farmer participating in the trial, stated: “We participated in a small-scale trial of growing oats last year and have signed up again. It also fits well with our business operations.” 

His partner Jeanet Brandsma added that farmers see the trail as an opportunity in the market.

The companies highlighted that participants will receive a predetermined price and a purchase guarantee for the oats and soy they grow. 

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