© Protix

Protix has won the Dutch Innovation Award 2020. The company wins the award for “its progressive role in food sustainability”. Protix has developed a fully automated production process that produces insect-based ingredients while using food residues as raw material. The award is part of a study on innovation carried out by the Dutch Innovation Monitor, coordinated by Professor Strategy & Innovation Henk Volberda. Protix has its headquarters in Dongen, and a production facility in Bergen op Zoom, both in the Dutch province of Brabant. Last year, VDL – also based in Brabant – won the award.

Protix says the award is “a recognition of the innovativeness and social impact”. The jury praises Protix’s progressive role in responding to sustainability issues through innovation. “Protix is a true pioneer and the founder of an entirely new category of proteins and other nutrients. The company has developed a new circular approach that uses food residues as feed for insects (the ‘black soldier fly’). These insects then serve as an ingredient for animals.” Protix developed this as an improvement compared to more common ingredients like soy, fishmeal, and palm oil. “This way, insects help to prevent overfishing and deforestation for soybean cultivation”, Protix says in a statement. “The breeding process is fully automated, smart algorithms and robotics are used in the advanced process so that the growth process of insects can be controlled at the level of larvae or crate.”

Opportunities

The Dutch Innovation Monitor is carried out by the Amsterdam Centre for Business Innovation. The monitor investigates how innovative Dutch companies really are. Jury chairman Henk Volberda: “Protix is at the forefront of the application of new technologies and invests substantially in research and development. The company also shows that technology and employment go hand in hand, and it contributes to solving social problems. Protix sees opportunities where others see problems, invests in people, and also realizes growth. Protix is really a poster child of the new economy.”

Innovation Monitor

About 14,000 companies were approached for this study, and about 1,000 participated. After additional research, including desk research and interviews, ten companies were nominated for the award and three finalists were selected. The jury, which looked at new solutions of the companies, their progressiveness on technologies, attention to human capital, entrepreneurship, and cooperation, ultimately identified Protix as the winner.

Read our 2018 intyerview with Protix cofounder Tarique Arsiwalla

© Protix

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Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.