Why did Bonduelle choose to participate in these innovation Awards?

Bonduelle is a French company specialized in the production, cultivation and processing of plant products. Partner of these awards, the company's mission is to create a better future through plant food. Talk with Patrick LESUEUR, Group R&D Director

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge we face in the food transition?

The biggest challenge will be to feed 9 billion people in the coming decades. With regard to nutritional and environmental aspects, how can the protein needs of all individuals be satisfied? Responding to this challenge must go through a cultural response. In many emerging countries, the access to meat is determined by the level of wealth of the inhabitants and is perceived as a symbol of social success. We must break this representation and value the consumption of plant-based protein. Same thing in our developed countries where cultural change is needed, it is now accepted that we consume more proteins, especially animal proteins, than our real needs. Vegetable solutions should be preferred. The innovation should improve the nutritional quality of these solutions but also offer a pleasant taste experience equal to the pleasure of eating meat.

What do you like most about your job?

As Director of R&D at Bonduelle, what drives me is to contribute to inventing a desirable future, to work on new trends and to identify key technologies and innovations of the coming decades. Our mission is to be the reference point for good life thanks to plant-based food. As such, it is fascinating to see the diversity of solutions that we can draw from plants. Bonduelle is involved in various types of projects. For example, we have worked with several European universities on consumer behaviour issues through the European research project VeggieEat. We are also involved in an agricultural project with the University of Amiens and are experimenting new crop alternatives on our pilot farm since 8 years. Finally, we are in the first phase of commercialization in Europe of a robot that distributes vegetable food, making healthy food more accessible to consumers and allowing them to fully customize their meals.

What attracted you to the European Plant-based protein Awards?

At Bonduelle, we are convinced that meeting the challenge of food transition should involve collaboration. The territory has a large network of actors in the agricultural world representing its entire value chain: industrial, technical centers, farmers, research institutions and young startups bringing disruptive ideas in food. All these actors must now be federate to realize this disruptive logic in concrete projects. This vision drives us to participate in the success of these Awards. We are also looking for technologies that can optimize and improve our business – that of our farmers, our service providers – and that would help consumers eat more vegetables. Finally, we are keen to promote the emergence of startups carrying our vision in a logic of accompaniment of the transition.

How does Bonduelle involve in this contest?

We carry out communication actions by relaying information to our network and through our various tools. Our role is also executive by participating in the concrete implementation of the European Plant-Based Protein Awards during the steering committees. Finally, we propose to the selected startups to carry out a POC and test their solutions in real conditions within our structure when consistency is identified.