Protein transition

Plant-based enjoyment thanks to cooperation and beets

Consumers are highly prepared to try plant-based products. Making it all the more important to convince them by offering them tasty products. As part of its ‘celebrating veggie’ strategy, Aviko is working with Cosun Beet Company and others on new, flavourful vegetable products using Fidesse®, an ingredient based on the sugar beet. Aviko Innovation Director Willem Fijten and Senior Product Manager Snackables Manfred Keizer talk about the new Aviko falafel burger and the development of other plant-based products based on Fidesse®.
22 December 2023

“We’ve been focusing on snackables for more than 15 years,” Manfred begins. “Our focus is not on the main components of the meal, but on side dishes and snacks.” Willem adds: “In addition to potato products and vegetarian snacks this, of course, also includes vegetables. There’s so much you can do with vegetables.” Thanks to Aviko’s mission ‘Bringing joy to tables’ and Cosun Beet Company’s ambition to realise ‘Bright beet solutions’, the two companies are on the same page. “At Cosun, we’re working hard together on developing new vegetable products. Our falafel burger based on Fidesse®, an ingredient from Cosun Beet Company, is a great example.”

Exploring possibilities

Fidesse® is an ingredient made from beet pulp, a co-product of the sugar production process. It has unique properties that are ideal for plant-based food products. “Meat substitutes, for example,” Manfred points out. “Despite Aviko not being active in that market, we’re very interested in the possibilities that Fidesse® could offer us. We particularly liked the high-fibre content and juiciness. When Cosun Beet Company contacted us to explore the possibilities for using Fidesse® in snacks together, we needed no convincing.”

Testing and refining

The experts at Aviko and Cosun Beet Company got to work testing the functional properties of Fidesse® and its use in finished products. Manfred: “Cosun Beet Company had already developed a number of applications, including the falafel burger. This is where we saw a match with Aviko. Together, we further developed the recipe for the burger and added the finishing touches in our factory in Spain. And this has led to a fantastic result.”

Strength of the organisation

Willem: “This really shows the strength of the organisation. Throughout Royal Cosun’s business groups, lots of smart people are working on great new developments, including ones that are contributing to the protein transition. This cooperation means we’re able to make rapid progress. Whereas Cosun Beet Company has all the knowledge about all the components of sugar beet, we in turn have all the expertise about processing ingredients into finished products. We’re the ‘playground’ for Cosun to test ingredients from the broader Cosun portfolio on Aviko products.”

Distinctive product in the market

Willem explains that the falafel burger with Fidesse® is distinctive in the market. “Compared to similar soy-protein-based products, Fidesse® has a very different texture and a more pleasant mouthfeel. It’s smoother, because Fidesse® retains more moisture.” But that’s not the only advantage, Manfred adds: “The production of Fidesse® also requires much less energy and it’s a co-product of sugar production, enabling us to get the most out of the entire plant.”


Manfred and Willem foresee a bright future for their falafel burger with Fidesse®. Manfred: “Partly due to health and/or sustainability reasons, around 30% of all Europeans is flexitarian, pescatarian, vegetarian or vegan. In fact, in the Netherlands, this is already more than 40%. Consumers are now more prepared to try plant-based products. This also means that the most important aspect of our falafel burger is the taste: this is what will persuade consumers to choose our flavourful plant-based product more often.”

Market launch

Aviko introduced the falafel burger with Fidesse® in the autumn of 2023. Manfred: “We introduced it in Europe, where falafel is already a popular product. We started in Southern Europe and will roll out a complete veggie burger concept across Europe by the middle of 2024.”

Aviko is already looking further ahead. Willem: “We’re also looking at other products in which we can use Fidesse®. For example, we’re already well into the development of a second falafel product: the falafel bites. And we’re looking at possibilities for using Fidesse® as a fat substitute, but that’s something for the longer term.” Aviko will also be working closely with Cosun Beet Company on this development. Manfred: “The beauty of the cooperation is that you continue to inspire one another and are able to realise great new products together. This is what’s giving us an edge in the market.”

Throughout Royal Cosun's business groups, lots of smart people are working on great new developments. This cooperation means we’re able to make rapid progress”
Willem Fijten
Innovation Director at Aviko

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