Circular Food Center & The Chocolate Factory in Meierijstad (NL)
Develop your own chocolate bar, completely waste-free, and discover the world of technology. Students will soon get to work on this at The Chocolate Factory, a learning-by-working ‘experience’ at the Noordkade in Meierijstad (The Netherlands). Utilizing the talent of young people, bringing together food companies and education, and innovating for more circular food chains: it all comes together around the lifelike chocolate production line. Foundation WerkEnLeren is the initiator of this ambitious project. In addition, Bouwbedrijf Van De Ven, Municipality of Meierijstad and Province of North Brabant are investing in the unique learning-by-working environment. It will also be the home base of the Circular Food Center.
Students, technology and food
At The Chocolate Factory students can learn through experience by operating the production line, designing the packaging or handling the logistics. All the senses are stimulated: with amazing machines and attractions, young people can experience the chocolate production process. Technical education plays a key role and the business community is also involved: young (technically) trained people are desperately needed in the food sector. Henk Maas, initiator of the WerkEnLeren foundation: “The most special thing about this tower is that it will soon be run by students from all levels of secondary vocational education (VMBO/MBO/HBO/WO) (secondary/senior secondary/higher).”
Home base Circular Food Center in The Chocolate Factory
At The Chocolate Factory, students will learn all about production, logistics, technology, packaging, design, marketing and sales, and about waste-free and circular food production. The Circular Food Center, as a knowledge and meeting center for circular food chains, will also be located there. This fits perfectly with the ambition of the coalition agreement of the Municipality of Meierijstad presented in 2022: “Circularity is the new default in the thinking and actions of companies, residents and associations”. Not only locally, but also nationally the Circular Food Center should become an attraction. After all, the ambition that is central here is considerable: to keep 1 billion kilos of good food within the chain, before 2030. With this sustainable development goal of the United Nations (12.3), the Circular Food Center even acquires international allure.
The Chocolate Factory and the Circular Food Center will be located in the NPF tower. This tower is perhaps the most extraordinary piece of historical heritage on the industrial site of Cultuur Haven Veghel. Now a cultural hotspot, it used to house Europe’s largest compound feed factory. The impressive steel structures, stairs, pipes and funnels in the tower fit seamlessly with the intended atmosphere and layout. Past and future come together and the vibrant location breathes the atmosphere of ‘food’.