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Industrial applications for wheat protein

Challenge closes in:

2020-05-08 17:00


Which industrial applications are there for wheat protein?

Cargill engages worldwide in the conversion of grains such as corn and wheat into a broad portfolio of products such as glucose and fructose syrups, starches and protein-based products. In Europe, Cargill has 5 plants that process wheat, yielding wheat protein (wheat gluten) as a by-product. These plants are all located in the northern half of Europe, where wheat is abundantly available. The by-product, wheat protein, currently finds applications mainly in food (for example, as a dough improver for bakeries) and feed (for example, as an ingredient in the feed used for salmon farming). In line with the increased possibilities for wheat processing, the availability of wheat protein has also increased over the years. Today, more than 1 million tons of wheat protein are produced globally. Due to wheat protein’s unique properties, such as its elasticity, and its increasing availability, wheat protein is an interesting material for industrial applications. However, the use of wheat protein in industrial applications is still in its infancy. Cargill is interested in collaborating with entrepreneurs that have new ideas on how to valorize wheat protein in industrial applications.

What are we looking for?

Potential industrial applications for wheat protein include its use as in ingredient for binding and coating and as a plasticizing ingredient in composite materials. Wheat protein can be used as is, either in its natural form as vital wheat gluten or in modified form as devitalized wheat gluten. It can also be broken down into smaller components via, for example, enzymatic hydrolysis. Cargill is open to solutions in which wheat protein is combined with other ingredients of either bio-based or synthetic origins.

Cargill is looking for solutions that can be used in industrial applications. Solutions should be applicable on an industrial scale with the objective to valorize at a minimum of 10,000 MT/year of wheat protein within a timeframe of 5 years.


What aren’t we looking for?

In this challenge, Cargill is not looking for new ways to extract wheat protein. The focus of the challenge is on the valorisation of wheat protein as produced in the wet milling of wheat flour – Cargill is not looking for proposals that make use of unprocessed wheat flour or that make use of other wheat components (or other bio-based raw materials) only.

What’s in it for you?

Cargill is offering an opportunity to collaborate with its R&D team for industrial applications, located in Vilvoorde (Belgium) and Krefeld (Germany). Depending on the technological readiness level of the proposed solution, the collaboration may consist of lab-scale, pilot-scale or even industrial scale activities to develop or validate the proposed solution. The innovation project may result in a long-term collaboration.


How can BioVoice benefit you?

An Innovation Contract. After concluding an innovation contract, you can get started with the development process. You’ll have access to:

  • funding (€10,000 vouchers, to be spend in the regional ecosystem on, for example, lab- and demo-facilities, NDA or IP advice, etc.
  • (international) markets
  • knowledge and partners
  • resources and research facilities
  • business and upscaling opportunities
  • and: a launching customer!


The BioVoice programme

BioVoice is an initiative of REWIN West-Brabant, Green Chemistry Campus, the joint Rabobanks of Southwest Netherlands and the province of Noord-Brabant. Together, we want to give innovative entrepreneurs and up-and-coming bio-based/circular talents the space and opportunities to develop and market their idea/product in order to realise our common goal: accelerating the transition to a sustainable economy


Conditions for participation

Cargill is primarily looking for companies that are active in product development and that are familiar with industrial applications. As the challenge calls for innovative solutions, Cargill is open to proposals from start-ups all the way to established companies.


Your pitch (max 6 pages / 18 slides)

  • Concept description: Describe your concept in as much detail as possible.
  • Pilot description: Please provide a brief description of what it will take to prototype and/or pilot and what you will need from us to do so.
  • Team description: Provide a brief description of the company and team that plans to work on the pilot.

There are no formal requirements for the pitch (presentations, slide decks & letters are all allowed), apart from the fact that it must be uploaded as a PDF file (A4, landscape or portrait) with a max. size of 30MB. Videos, example websites and so on can be included as links.  



  • 2nd March 2020: Challenge launches – open for entries
  • 8th May 2020 – 17.00 uur: Challenge deadline – entries must be submitted before 5 am
  • 15th May 2020 at the latest: Shortlist announcement – Announcement of which start-ups/scale-ups will be invited to introduce and explain their solution 
  • Week of 25th May or 1st of June: Digital introduction talks challengers/entrants + information sessions on IP and NDA’s
  • September ‘20: Work sessions, during which challengers & entrants seek to conclude innovation contracts + voucher granting
  • End of September 2020: Closing event – celebrating the innovation contracts and partnerships resulting from the challenge + voucher hand-outs
  • June 2020: Start of development & partnership (pilot)



If you have any questions about this challenge, please head to the contact options below. For more information about the challenge program, click here.  


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