It is our mission to support the Flemish food industry, an important industrial sector, via research and innovation in retaining and strengthening competitiveness on both the local and foreign markets. Via innovation, Flanders’ FOOD supports food companies in taking on social challenges, such as those in the domain of nutrition and sustainability. With passion, knowledge and expertise, Flanders’ FOOD convinces food companies to cross borders: literally and figuratively.
Flanders’ FOOD's main task is to ensure a bright future for the Flemish food industry through innovation; continuing to produce good food that suits every lifestyle, now and for all the generations that follow, is the starting point.
Flanders’ FOOD is convinced that this is only possible through collaboration:
Collaboration with suppliers and customers within the Flemish food industry ecosystem, both in Flanders and Europe
Collaboration with research organisations and cluster organisations (in food or other domains) in Flanders and Europe
Through collaboration, resources (whether it be people, infrastructure or money) can be allocated and used more efficiently. This collaboration ensures that Flemish food companies can remain competitive in a global market.
Flanders’ FOOD is convinced that this is only possible by investing broadly throughout the entire innovation trajectory, form strategic basic research to implementing knowledge in the development of new products and processes. A clear strategy geared towards 'supporting' and many different aspects of innovation was chosen.
We see ourselves as the 'fixer' for all stakeholders who want to realise innovation within the strategic domain of the Flemish food industry. Our employees play an active role in this by establishing and adapting research and innovation projects.
The mission and vision of the spearhead cluster make it clear that Flanders’ FOOD is open to collaborating with all enterprises, economic or otherwise, research partners and clusters in the ecosystem, both members and non-members. This means that Flanders’ FOOD can also function as a neutral partner in free and independent research that is beneficial to the entire sector.
Flanders’ FOOD values the partnership with VLAIO and manages the resources for the programs (earmarked project budget) in this collaboration. At the same time, Flanders’ FOOD is also responsible for developing research and innovation projects within other grant channels, both Flemish and European. In this function, Flanders’ FOOD is also VLAIO's first point of contact in supporting entrepreneurs with standard Flemish and European grants. Flanders’ FOOD establishes collaborations at a European level with clusters and research organisations and strives for a central role in a number of domains, such as Industry 4.0, nutrition, food packaging and increasing the available food sources by focusing on by-products and alternative protein sources.
Stakeholders that wish to collaborate with Flanders’ FOOD endorse the importance of the core values for a sustainable collaboration. These pillars include:
open to innovating in a win-win partnership where equality is top priority
This strategic choice was established via a participative process in 2016 in which both Flanders’ FOOD members and non-members contributed. We are still plucking the fruits of this initiative today.
Flanders’ FOOD has translated the ‘worry-free’ function into a process-driven strategy in which employee activities are a top priority and topics for research and innovation are developed via programs and roadmaps in a participative process with Flemish businesses, clusters, federations and research partners.
Four strategic domains were defined. On the one hand, domains that must increase companies' knowledge and broaden the horizon and, on the other hand, domains that must help them with creating new products, processes and concepts that will stimulate their economic growth.
Lead to Knowledge: disseminating the available state-of-the-art and newly generated knowledge to a wide group of food companies
Cross/Create Value Chain: bringing together stakeholders to achieve an open innovation culture and create win-wins situations, fill in gaps and find new business opportunities
The knowledge-driven strategic action domains focus on programs and roadmaps that are based on the strengths of the Flemish food sector as well as on opportunities/challenges.
The business-driven strategic action domains focus on supporting implementations at the individual business level by supplying easily accessible pilot infrastructures, a network of professional partners, communication, IP, co-creation, etc. The collaborations within these action domains focus on collaboration across sectoral and/or regional borders.