Fruitful matchmaking with NF4

Submitted by Jeroen Wouters on 25 January 2019

I am looking forward to this spring. Not just because of the weather, but because then I will visit China with a group of enthusiastic entrepeneurs who will investigate the possibilities for their companies in new markets in Asia.

By Tjerna Ellenbroek, New Frontiers in Food

China is the fastest growing Asian market in food, and it offers many opportunities for innovative companies. With a population of almost 1.4 billion people it is a very large market. Moreover, China is a gateway to other Asian countries. Foodvalley NL is involved in the New Frontiers in Food – Fast Forward (NF4) project of five European Food clusters that facilitates SMEs in the field of food and beverage entry to new markets. During the project there will be innovation tours to four major markets. The mission to China will take place from May 12th to 17th. During this tour the participating companies will attend Sial China in Shanghai. Moreover, they will visit two important agfood regions in China, including Xiamen where Foodvalley China is located.

The tour facilitates SME companies to investigate new frontiers and supports the acceleration of activities outside Europe. Small and medium sized companies can connect with local organisations and intensively explore multiple aspects of the markets in a short time. Besides, companies can apply for an ‘internationalisation voucher’, co-funded by the EU, to cover travel and trade show expenses.

The tour is the first step for several participants to bring their innovations to new markets. We have contacts with local organizations which makes networking more effective. We hope to help companies active in the Foodvalley ecosystem to make a kick-start in China.


The NF4 project is a collaboration of five food clusters in Europe. Apart from Foodvalley, based in the Netherlands, these food clusters are Clusaga in Spain, Valorial and Vitagora clusters in France and Wagralim in Belgium. The aim of the project is to share knowledge and link SMEs with networks of industry experts in four countries.

We have seen how inspiring these innovation tours can be. In October 2018 a delegation of members from our partners Vitagora and Wagralim visited Canada, including the healthy food event BENEFIQ. One of the participating companies was Atelier du Fruit from France, that provides natural solutions to enhance taste and preservation, as well as solutions to reduce sugar in food. The solid preparation from Atelier du Fruit enabled successful matchmaking with Canadian counterparts during the tour. Two months after the mission one partnership had been signed and four others were still being discussed. Very fruitful indeed for Atelier du Fruit!

US and Brazil

In 2019 NF4 also organises innovation tours to the United States and to Brazil. While the China tour is mainly focussed on processed food, the main theme of the US innovation tour is ‘connected food’, ICT in the food industry. This tour, which is organised by our partner Valorial, will visit the Future Food Tech Summit  in San Francisco, as well as the Chicago, Milwaukee area and San Francisco. There will be company visits and matchmaking. This tour will be held March 17th to 22nd. The program of the Brazil tour in the second half of 2019 is not yet known. We will keep you updated through this website and the dedicated website

Cluster organisation
New Frontiers in Food Fast Forward
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