In Flanders the food industry is the largest economic sector in the manufacturing industry, and also the largest employer. As spearhead cluster agri-food, Flanders' FOOD focuses mainly on the economic growth of the Flemish food industry. Flanders' FOOD thereby mainly acts as an enabler for innovation, and an integrator to create a trust zone of open innovation with all stakeholders in the agri-food business complex. The three economic drivers for growth are: (1) increasing local and international competitiveness, (2) focus on new business opportunities through system integration and (3) take up the social and societal responsibilities.
To provide an answer to these three economic drivers, four strategy objectives have been defined that should increase knowledge and broaden the horizons of companies on one hand, and on the other enable them to validate and implement new knowledge into new products, processes and concepts that drive their economic growth. Flanders' FOOD is not defining the products, processes and services of the future, but enables companies to act quicker, better and more efficient in their innovation processes.
The knowledge-driven strategic goals will focus on three program lines: (1) World Class Food Production, (2) Resilient & Sustainable Agri-food Systems and (3) Personalised Food Products & Healthy Diets.
Several activities contribute to the realization of the strategic goals, such as: Development of dedicated roadmaps, creation of a (virtual) inspiration centre, education of the target group, distribution of information beyond the target group, establishment of a scientific and technological advisory network, enable access to pilot infrastructure, support in workplace innovation, support in research implementation, guidance towards co-creation and co-development.
Flanders ' FOOD, in collaboration with ILVO (the Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food), has set up a Food Pilot, this is a pilot hall filled with industrial process lines on a pilot scale, accessible to food companies for testing.