Wijffels Award 2014 for innovations in food safety, circular enterprise and vitality

30 October 2014 – Greater food safety and less food wastage (Condi Food), smaller and economical chemical plants (Flowid) and a more vital and sustainable neighbourhood (Wijkbedrijf Bilgaard). The sustainable innovations that bring about these improvements are the winners of the Dutch Herman Wijffels Innovation Award 2014.

The Herman Wijffels Innovation Award was established in 2002 with the aim of encouraging entrepreneurs to realise their promising sustainable innovations. The award has three categories: food & agri, circular economy and health & welfare. The winners in these categories receive a cash prize of 30,000 euros and the winner of the People’s Choice Award receives 5,000 euros.
The awards were presented this afternoon in Delft (the Netherlands) by Herman Wijffels and Wout Dekker, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Rabobank. Herman Wijffels provided an address on ‘Opportunities in the sustainable economy’ at the event. Entrepreneurs were also given the opportunity to speed date with a Rabobank expert about the financing of their innovation.

Innovation requires persistence and guts

‘Innovation is extremely important for the sustainable development of both the economy and society, but entrepeneurs must make great efforts in various areas to achieve this. It requires creativity, commercial insight, persistence and guts. Entrepreneurs who innovate deserve a podium that provides them with access to financing, knowledge and networks. We provide such a podium through the Herman Wijffels Innovation Award’, says Wout Dekker.

About Condi Food’s innovation: Less food wastage because an aeronautical camera scans the food

The jury says the following about food & agri category winner Condi Food: ‘This is an example of how aeronautical technology can cause a revolution in the food sector. Food safety is one of the spearheads for the coming decades. This innovation also prevents food wastage.’
Marco Beijersbergen of Condi Food: ‘Products are usually checked randomly in a laboratory in the food sector. We use technologies such as hyperspectral cameras and 3D cameras from aeronautics in order to ensure a continuous reading of the supplied products themselves.’ If an abnormality is identified, it is possible to intervene immediately.
In contrast to the three colours seen by the human eye, the system recognises a thousand colours. ‘We can objectively ascertain in a second how fresh a product is and will at some point in the future even be able to determine whether it is contaminated. This will not be done on the basis of random checks. Each product will be checked. That provides certainty.’

"Entrepreneurs who innovate deserve a podium that provides them with access to financing, knowledge and networks. We provide such a podium through the Herman Wijffels Innovation."

Wout Dekker, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Rabobank

About Flowid’s innovation: The chemical plant of the future – smaller and more circular

The jury says the following about circular economy category winner Flowid: ‘Flowid’s invention has made chemical processes smaller and more flexible. A Flowid can be placed at any location. Without large plants and without large investments. This maintains employment and knowledge and the Netherlands is at the forefront of this development.’
This is what Flowid does: Carry out chemical processes on a small scale, with the same results, at the location where it is needed. ‘Plants can use it to close the circle’, says Jeoffrey van den Berg of Flowid. ‘They can use waste straightaway to make new raw materials for coatings, synthetics, cosmetics, medicines, food ingredients and so forth on the spot and in the quantities they need. This enables circular processes to really get off the ground.’

About Wijkbedrijf Bilgaard’s innovation: Working together on an energy-efficient, vital environment

The jury says the following about health & welfare category winner Wijkbedrijf Bilgaard: ‘Four companies have joined forces in order to renovate and revitalise a neighbourhood. Involving residents in maintaining the neighbourhood saves money that can be invested as social return in the neighbourhood. The result is an energy-efficient neighbourhood that exudes vitality.’
‘We established Wijkbedrijf Bilgaard with four companies’, says Marcel Tankink, referring to the neighbourhood with 300 rental homes. ‘Through this company we invest in sustainable energy via biomass and solar panels. But we also invest in the neighbourhood’s liveability. We save money by organising maintenance and management in a different way. We do this via means including recruiting residents to help carry out part of the work. They receive a volunteer’s stipend for this work. The money that Wijkbedrijf Bilgaard saves on maintenance is invested in the neighbourhood in the form of social return. The residents then decide what that money is used for.’

594 entries

There were 594 entries for the Herman Wijffels Innovation Award this year. All the entries were judged on their innovativeness, social impact, customer focus and profitability. This was carried out by a jury of Rabobank specialists in the field of innovation and sustainability. Nine entries competed in the final; three in each of the categories food & agri, circular economy and health & welfare.