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Rival Foods: Scaling Up and Unveiling the Next Gen of Plant-Based Products

Courtesy of Rival Foods
Courtesy of Rival Foods

Rival Foods, a Netherlands-based FoodTech innovator, is setting a new standard in the plant-based protein sector. Founded by Birgit Dekkers and Ernst Breel in 2019, as a spin-off from Wageningen University & Research, the company has made significant strides in developing and distributing its unique plant-based meat alternatives. The recent signing of a lease for its first large-scale production facility marks a pivotal moment for Rival Foods, enabling it to significantly expand its distribution in key European markets.

A New Era in Plant-Based Protein

Rival Foods is at the forefront of a shift in the plant-based protein industry, utilizing its proprietary Shear Cell technology to create meat-like textures from plant-based proteins. This technology distinguishes Rival Foods from other companies by allowing the production of whole muscle cut products that closely mimic the texture and sensory experience of animal meat, using a minimal number of ingredients.

Expansion and Impact

The company's decision to establish a commercial-scale production location in the Netherlands is a direct result of a successful 6 million Euro Series A funding round in September 2022. This expansion is not just a growth strategy but a testament to Rival Foods' commitment to innovation and sustainability in the food sector. The new facility will enable Rival Foods to increase its product offerings and reach, initially focusing on food service in The Netherlands, Germany, the UK, and France, with plans to enter the retail market next year.

Whole-Cut Plant-Based Products

Currently, the market is flooded with processed plant-based products like burgers and nuggets, but there is a gap in whole-cut alternatives. Rival Foods aims to fill this void with its range of chicken-like products, which include a marinated chicken fillet, chicken blocks for skewers, and pulled chicken. The company is also exploring other categories, including red meat and fish alternatives, set to launch later this year.

Rival Foods' approach could potentially reshape the alternative protein market, targeting a segment that mirrors the variety found in animal-based proteins. Martina Pace, CCO of PeakBridge and a member of the Rival Foods Supervisory Board, notes the importance of texture in achieving success with plant-based whole cuts and believes Rival Foods is well-positioned to make a significant impact.

Vision and Future Prospects

With the industry poised for rapid growth, Rival Foods envisions capturing a substantial share of the emerging 2 billion EUR market for whole-cut plant-based products within the next five years. The company's strategy focuses on delivering great-tasting, affordable, and healthy options to consumers, addressing a significant need in the market for high-quality, plant-based meat alternatives.

CEO and co-founder Birgit Dekkers expresses enthusiasm for the new production location, seeing it as an opportunity to enhance Rival Foods' impact and meet the growing consumer demand for plant-based products. The expansion into commercial-scale production is a leap towards realizing the company's ambitious vision for the future of food, emphasizing sustainability, health, and innovation.

As Rival Foods gears up for this next phase of growth, the food industry and consumers alike watch eagerly. The company's progress offers a glimpse into the future of sustainable eating, where plant-based proteins play a central role in our diets, not just as alternatives but as preferred choices for their quality, taste, and environmental benefits.


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