Policy plan

Policy Plan 2018 – 2022

 Background and objective

Worldwide 30–40% of edible agricultural raw materials and food is wasted. Often these consist of nutrients with a high potential for a healthy diet. This is even worse if one considers that one in eight people in the world’s population is undernourished. Ironically one billion people could be lifted out of malnourishment if only 25% of the waste in the EU and the USA could be made available as nutritious food.

Many initiatives such as food banks and other recycling schemes are addressing this wasteful trend. Keep Food Simple proposes a different approach: to re-design current food manufacturing processes in such a way that the potential of agricultural raw materials is used to its maximum. This will lead to less waste, more sustainable processes and food products with a higher impact on health.

The foundation Keep Food Simple was established in 2016 as a not-for-profit organisation. According to its statutes the objective is to initiate and support activities that will lead to the development of healthy foods by more effectively using the nutritional potential of agricultural raw materials, therefore decreasing the dependence on additives, reducing the amount of waste and promoting sustainable practices.  An important element is to remodel food chains to support a different perception in the eyes of the consumer. As of January 1, 2018, the Foundation Keep Food Simple has been granted the ANBI status by the Dutch Tax Administration.

The approach of Keep Food Simple will encourage (1) less wastage of food and edible agricultural raw materials, (2) more sustainable food manufacturing processes and (3) food with a significant contribution to health. We create unique forms of co-operation, preferably between different parties in the food chain, thereby focusing on the development of knowledge as well as the utilisation of knowledge in society. We prefer to work with students as a part of their MSc studies or a traineeship as young people find our approach attractive and stimulating.

Projects

Keep Food Simple develops a balanced portfolio of projects. In each of them we strive towards less waste, more sustainable processes and healthier food products. Our focus is on vegetables and fruits, tuber and root crops and grains and cereals.

Also, we explore, together with partners in our network, the development of a multi-disciplinary programme which will serve as the basis for the development of knowledge.

How will new projects be developed? (1) Within our organisation we identify ideas that will be explored together with universities and technical colleges and (2) groups within universities propose their own ideas for projects. In both cases projects will be executed by BSc or MSc students under the responsibility of their university.

The Board of Keep Food Simple will review all proposals on their relevance to our objectives, the availability of a feasible project plan, the professional support and a realistic budget. Where appropriate, the assistance of the Advisory Board will be sought. For financial support Keep Food Simple will be able to allocate a modest contribution for those expenses that will not be covered by educational establishments.

Keep Food Simple will require regular follow up reports and will ensure that the results of such projects benefit societal needs, the driving force behind all our work.

Finance

The expenses that were necessary to found Keep Food Simple, to create the website and to support our first projects were covered by a loan and a donation. Board members did not receive any remuneration in 2016 and 2017, though in the future a limited coverage of expenses might be feasible.

From 2018 financial support for projects, mainly MSc and BSc studies and training schemes, will increase to a level of € 10.000 – € 15.000 per year. It is expected that the development of one or more programmes will require substantially higher financial support.

Keep Food Simple values its independent status: therefore, more activities will be developed to increase the support from interested sponsors, and here our ANBI status is expected to be of considerable value.

Management costs and expenses for communication, website and IT will be realistically limited over the next years.

As much as possible financial contributions will be allocated to and used in projects within the same calendar year. Where legacies are donated to the foundation, an appropriate structure for the financial support of projects will be established in accordance with the objectives of the foundation.

Organisation

The Keep Food Simple foundation is managed by a Board consisting of a minimum of 5 members. The Board is supported by an Advisory Board consisting of 6 – 8 independent professionals from universities and industry. Together with project managers and support this will form an involved team of 15 – 20 individuals.  The Board of Management has final responsibility for decisions on projects and finance made on the principle of a majority vote.

Communication

Through www.keepfoodsimple.nl  as well as newsletters regular updates will be given on progress in projects, new ideas, workshops, annual statements and our policy plan. The extensive network of the foundation in the agri-food cluster has proven to be a valuable basis for the discussions and realisation of projects and financial support. A first workshop in 2016, supported by RABO Head Office, was a considerable success, and we are planning to repeat this co-operation in the future.

Societal contributions

Projects initiated by the foundation will be executed under the responsibility of universities and technical colleges. Therefore, any project results will be non-confidential and non-exclusive but will be available to all interested parties via our website. It is expected that both young start-up companies as well as established businesses will be interested.   Such companies will then be asked to sponsor the work of the foundation in such a way that the height of the sponsorship reflects the importance of the research. In this way Keep Food Simple will be able to continue the development of new projects and ideas within the scope of the societal objective.

Over the past years a number of projects have been started that will serve as an example of the objectives of the foundation. Together with the University of Maastricht Campus Venlo a product Pesto di Carciofi (a healthy product for diets in need of high fibre) was developed using the entire artichoke plant; thus far only 10% was used and valuable nutrients were wasted.  In another project the impact of modern technology on traditional breadmaking is being investigated; academic research has shown that in this way tasty bread can be made without the use of additives and with a low gluten content. All in all, major advantages for a healthy diet.

Conclusion

The objectives of the Keep Food Simple foundation are less wastage of food and agricultural raw materials, more sustainable methods of processing and the development of food products with a significant contribution to health. So far, several projects have been started successfully, the number of which will be extended in the period 2018-2022. We shall focus on vegetables and fruit, tuber and root crops and grain and cereals. Within these areas the waste of raw, healthy ingredients is considerable. All in all, it is an ambitious programme to transfer our objectives into concrete results. Therefore, a strong financial basis supported by the recently acquired ANBI status is of vital importance.