Keep Food Simple Foundation: 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.
In 2016 and 2017 the objectives, the organisation and the website www.keepfoodsimple.nl were presented to relevant partners. Also first projects were started together with universities. In accordance with the policy plan 2018 – 2022, further steps will be taken to develop Keep Food Simple towards a sustainable future.
In its first one and half years Keep Food Simple has already initiated a number of projects. Thus it became clear that we are heading on the right track. The results have encouraged us to take further steps and to increase our project base to eventually 20-30 projects which will form the heart of the work of our foundation.
How will these new projects be developed? (1) Within our organisation we shall identify ideas that will be explored together with universities and technical colleges and (2) groups within universities will propose their own ideas for projects. In both cases these 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. In order to do this it will be supported by the Advisory Board.
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.
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 stipendia, will increase to a level of € 10.000 -€ 15.000 per year. Any other activities such as a chair in a university will lead to an increase in this budget.
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.
The Keep Food Simple foundation is managed by a Board consisting of four unpaid members who will appoint an Advisory Board consisting of 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.
Through www.keepfoodsimple.nl 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, on the possibilities of fermentation in food production was judged a considerable success leading to a number of follow up steps.
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.
In 2016 and 2017 a number of projects has 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.
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.