The Food Industry has an important economic impact in the Dutch-German INTERREG region and is characterised by a large amount of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) on both sides of the border. Especially the SMEs are challenged by the development in the global food market and by the demands of consumer.
To improve the competitiveness of the regional food business and to make it fit for the future the project FOOD2020 has been developed in-line with the Europe 2020 Strategy on smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. In FOOD2020 the five topics of the European Strategy are covered; research and development, climate change and sustainability, social inclusion, education and employment. They are adapted for the food sector in the region by setting up cross-border networks among companies and research and educational institutions. In innovation projects and feasibility studies, SMEs and research institutions work together on innovative developments.
Project topics include the development of bio-based packaging solutions, foodstuffs based on insects or solutions for the controlled cultivation of plants in urban areas. Also, the development of an app with gamification elements for in-house training and the organization of a German-Dutch traineeship program are the subject of FOOD2020. The project is almost completed and has led to many new products, processes, services and solutions to existing and future challenges in the food industry. Some results are published on the homepage www.food2020.eu.
The consortium, with the DIL as coordinator, plans to start a second phase. The aim is to support the successful ideas of the feasibility studies in the implementation and to prepare the region for future challenges. With a budget of approximately € 4.5 million, another 20 innovation projects will be funded. Additionally, 10 thematic “think tanks” will be established, which will deal with concrete questions about the future of nutrition from the perspective of companies.