Vivera has been a producer of high-quality vegetable substitutes for animal meat since 1990. Most of their vegan and vegetarian products are based on soybeans. Also, Vivera offers numerous products based on chickpeas, corn, rice, potatoes, vegetarian cheese, fresh vegetables or beans. At the beginning of 2018, the company was the first in the world to launch an entirely vegetable "steak" made from wheat and soy, with a unique taste, odour, bite and texture. The steak even "bleeds" because of the usage of red beet dye. This systematically reduces the CO2 footprint and environmental impact. At the same time, the company wants to strengthen its global leadership position in an open and transparent dialogue with their customers and end users. One important aspect is listening to wishes and expectations. In their sustainability policy connecting with local initiatives and participating in sustainable (inter)national networks are important elements.
Vivera offers four product categories at numerous supermarkets: vegetarian, vegan (100% vegetable), lupine and organic. The goal for 2025 is to have a fully vegan production, meaning that no animal proteins are used. The control of food allergens in that target year will be in accordance with the Vital standard. Additionally, all used proteins must be of European origin. Currently, the company is already striving to act as circular as possible by controlling the full production cycle - from the cultivation of the crops to the processing of the residual products. This keeps CO2 emissions per delivered product as low as possible.
Vivera's ambition is not only to become the greenest factory in Twente and the Netherlands but also to become that of Europe. To achieve this, all details in the full production chain are looked at from a sustainability perspective. For example, the packaging trays for the food have been decreased in weight, saving 23% plastic. The used cardboard has an FSC quality mark. Currently, biodegradable packaging materials is not a part of the standard process. As long as egg whites from eggs are still being used, they come exclusively from free-range chickens. The vegan products from Vivera are completely free of animal proteins and are therefore also suitable for vegans.
Almost all of Viera’s food products contain iron minerals and vitamin B12. These are essential nutrients for a balanced meal and a good supplement to a vegetarian diet. Almost all raw materials for Vivera products are produced in the Netherlands: grown, harvested and then processed in the food factory in Twente. The used soy is from North America and is not genetically modified.
At the international Round Table on Responsible Soy Association (RTRS), Vivera influences the global dialogue on responsible soy production through its membership. Lupine is a classic crop with beans that are full of proteins and fibres. The leguminous plant is grown in Twente in a sustainable manner at Vivera’s plantations in Holten and at selected nearby farmers. The nitrogen that lupine produces reduces the amount of fertilizer and CO2 needed, and additionally lupine increases biodiversity in the field and the soil.
Certification by Skal allows Vivera to use the “EKO” quality mark for organic products. In addition, Vivera is certified for environmental policy (ISO 14001), sustainability policy (ISO 26000) and their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR Performance Ladder level four). Vivera generates green electricity themselves using solar panels on the roof of the production hall. Their stock warehouse is divided into climate zones for optimum cooling with minimal power consumption. "Lean & Green" transportation is taken care of with a local transport company to keep the CO2 emissions per product as low as possible. The treatment plant at the production site in Holten converts production waste into raw material for biogas production, thus reducing waste energy. The company removes 90% of the dirt from the wastewater themselves, resulting in 900 tons of CO2 being saved annually.The cleaned surface water is discharged into the local sewer. The sludge that is left over is fermented elsewhere. The resulting biogas provides 3.900 households with electricity and 1.550 households with heating. At test fields near the production site in Twente, experiments are carried out with the local cultivation of proteins, alternating 2.5 hectares of rapeseed and lupine.