A scale-up for a protein pioneer involving multiple stakeholders

The Protein Brewery 03.1

The Protein Brewery is an innovative developer of protein-rich food ingredients based on fungi. They aim to assist the food industry in producing simple, healthy, nutritious, and sustainable food products.

November 28, 2023
  • SECTORS: Food & Beverage
  • COUNTRIES: The Netherlands
  • CLIENT: The Protein Brewery

The journey to create a plant-based alternative to animal proteins began in 2020. It became evident quickly that they needed a strong team with diverse expertise to successfully realize their vision on a commercial scale.

Van der Meijden Machines, a versatile supplier specializing in designing, building, and maintaining installations for the food processing industry, took on the challenge of transforming the pilot plant into a demonstration plant. This substantial project prompted Van der Meijden Machines to seek additional support, particularly in the realm of software. This is where NIRAS, also an expert in the food industry, came into play, leveraging their knowledge to establish software standards for the project.

Various steps within the project
In close collaboration, the project team members developed a customized Functional Design Specification standard (FDS) compliant with the S88 (ISA88) industry standard. The Protein Brewery contributed experiences and lessons from the lab phase and pilot plant, while other parties provided insights into units and process steps. NIRAS played an integral role in the dedicated team, ensuring the right specifications and a solid foundation for the next project steps.

After rounds of feedback and adjustments, the FDS documents were ready to be translated into software. The same team that worked on the FDS documents undertook the complex task of converting them into PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) software. Multiple PLC software engineers were consistently engaged in monitoring quality and upholding established standards, as even when following standards, different professionals may have different interpretations.

Next, the functionality of the PLC was thoroughly tested. Van der Meijden Machines set up a simulation at their location and, together with NIRAS and other stakeholders, meticulously tested the software. Subsequently, it was refined, and documentation was updated according to the as-built situation. Meanwhile, the contractor was busy installing stainless steel equipment and later the electrical installation.

Results at the horizon
After several months, the commercial scaling of The Protein Brewery came to life when the first production round was carried out. Productivity tests provided valuable insights from this initial production phase. Some necessary adjustments were identified and will be implemented in subsequent phases to further refine the process.

The story of The Protein Brewery revolves around innovation, dedication, and collaboration. It illustrates how an innovative vision, combined with the expertise of contractors like Van der Meijden Machines and specialists in software within food production like NIRAS, can transform an ambitious idea into a tangible, groundbreaking reality. The journey is not over yet, and the future looks promising for The Protein Brewery and its plant-based protein revolution.

The Protein Brewery 01.1
Jeroen van Lunsen

Jeroen van Lunsen

Managing Director

Rosmalen, Netherlands


Jeroen van den Boezem

Jeroen van den Boezem

Market Director

Rosmalen, Netherlands