Belgian soya burger: local product, sustainable production chain
Soya is a relatively new crop in Belgium, but it is perfectly suited to local conditions – as Simon Colembie, who farms in Kruishoutem, can testify. And a collaboration with La Vie Est Belle means that ‘his’ soya beans will be used to make the soya burgers and spreads on sale at Bio-Planet. This really benefits our product range by helping to make it even more sustainable.
Innovative organic soya farming in Belgium
Simon Colembie began the move to organic cultivation a few years ago. Adding soya has allowed him to expand the crop rotation on his fields, improving soil quality as well as his income. If the same crops are always planted in the same place, this strips the nutrients from the soil. Soya extracts nitrogen from the air and enriches the soil, so additional fertilisation is no longer required. Colembie's first harvest in October 2018 produced a very promising 2.5 tonnes of soya beans. A second harvest followed in 2019, and in the spring of 2020 Colembie sowed another hectare of organic soya.
Sustainable and pioneering
Developing the Belgian soya harvest and discovering what works requires a pioneering mindset. What soya varieties will grow best over here? When should we be planting? When should we be harvesting? When should we be harvesting? We are working with our partners – including Research and Advice in Agriculture and Horticulture (Inagro), the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO) and KU Leuven – to get behind “home-grown” soya. Growing the crop locally reduces what we need to import from North and South America, so the product immediately becomes more sustainable. Soya is also a nutritious crop, as it has a high protein content and is easy to digest, making it a great choice for plant-based meat substitutes.
The first Belgian soya burgers and spreads
The soya beans farmed by Simon Colembie are used by La Vie Est Belle in Bruges to produce two different soya burgers and two kinds of soya spreads. These completely plant-based products are the first to contain 100% Belgian soya and have a Nutri-Score A. The nutritional value is particularly high because the entire soya bean is processed to make the burgers and spreads. They are on sale at Bio-Planet under the Boni Selection Bio brand. From 2020, we will also be selling one of the soya burgers at Colruyt Lowest Prices and both of the soya spreads at OKay.
With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.