TNO: Balancing Marketability and Acceptable Risk
By Jaan Koel
TNO in Zeist, part of Holland’s “silicon valley” of food science near Amsterdam, is somewhat of a hybrid when it comes to the food industry. On one hand, TNO is a purely independent food research company pushing the needle in several important futuristic directions that are dedicated to making food safer and more abundant everywhere. As the company develops new technologies, it benefits from selling them. Those technologies that support food supply are particularly important when you consider industry analysts say there won’t be enough food to go around by 2050 because of the lack of distribution infrastructure, and the depressing effects of global warming and other factors on crop and animal yields.
On the other hand, TNO is also a company for hire that conducts specific research for food companies—many of the majors—all over the world. The company’s expertise centers on solving problems, assessing and managing risks related to food toxicology, advising on recall and crisis management activities, consulting on product development, among other things.