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Foodtech company ENOUGH (formerly 3F BIO) announced at a celebratory ceremony on 16 September the start of the construction of a unique protein factory: the largest new protein farm without animals. The plant will be operational in 2022 with an initial capacity to produce 10,000 tonnes of vegetable protein per year. The 15,000 square metre facility will be located next to the Cargill facility in Sas van Gent in the Netherlands. The investment will initially create 25 new jobs and this number will double with plans for more than 50,000 tonnes of capacity by 2027. Circular Biobased Delta has been closely involved in the preparations as part of its Sugar Delta programme.

In total, the plant that makes vegetable food protein from fungi will cost 42 million euros. Together with Impuls Zeeland and The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), Circular Biobased Delta was involved in finding investors and also made contact with several banks. BBI JU is supporting the new facility as one of their 11 flagship projects with EUR 6.9 million in funding as part of Project Plenitude, involving partners from the entire value chain. Managing director Enough BV Jim Laird: “We have developed a technique to make proteins for meat substitutes from moulds. We call it Mycoprotein. Myco is the Greek word for mould. After years of research and testing, we are now going to make fungi food on an industrial scale in a factory in Sas van Gent.”

Sugars from grain

The fungi are fed sugars from raw materials such as grain. This is done in a large-scale fermentation process. Cargill ensures the continuous supply of grain. allows the fungi to grow. The residues are then processed again in Cargill’s bioethanol plant. This enables the protein factory to produce without waste.

Making proteins sustainable by creating the most scalable and sustainable source of proteins. One earth has to be ENOUGH.

Demand for vegetable protein grows

Enough markets the semi-finished product under the brand name Abunda Mycoprotein. It is a moist substance from which vegetarian chicken snacks, bacon, barbecue meat and fish fingers can be made. The production of these end products is left to the vegetarian ‘meat industry’. The demand for this type of vegetarian meat and snack alternatives is growing rapidly. Laird: “Every year the demand increases by 50 per cent. In ten years’ time, we will be talking about 80 billion kilos per year worldwide. We are responding to this trend. Our production starts next year with 10 million kilos. In ten years’ time, we want to grow to 1 billion kilos per year.”

When the plant reaches peak production, as many as 5 million cows or 1.2 billion chickens will be replaced by the vegetable protein. This could reduce C02 emissions by 1 billion kilos per year, comparable to planting 30 million trees.

25 new jobs

In a year’s time, the factory will be operational and will provide 25 jobs. If production is expanded, employment will grow. Invest in Zeeland, which together with The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) supervised the arrival of the Scottish start-up, is pleased that new high-quality jobs will be created in Sas van Gent. Albert Meiresonne, manager at Invest in Zeeland: First of all, it is about expanding employment in Zeeland and secondly, it is about a good mix of jobs, some of which are at higher vocational and academic level. This will attract more highly educated people to the province. We think that a high-tech company like Enough can also attract other companies. At the same time, the existing industry will be renewed. Incidentally, it was Cargill that started the ball rolling. The company asked us to convince Enough that Zeeland was the right place.”