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Who can benefit from the NFI services?

4 specific cases:
  • Foreign companies in all sectors looking to expand in Hauts-de-France
  • French companies with no site in Hauts-de-France
  • Hauts-de-France companies with a succession plan
  • Foreign-owned companies in Hauts-de-France with a development project
Our services are not intended for :
  • French or international self-employed entrepreneurs
  • French companies wishing to export
  • International companies seeking distribution networks only

Why as the help of Nord France Invest?

Nord France Invest provides you with completely tailored, free of charge and confidential support. We centralize all the information you need to analyze your project. We facilitate your process to find a site, partners or land. We organize site visits. We accelerate your networking with future regional partners. Find out more about the agency's services on this page.

What type of project can support you in?

The agency supports job-creating investment projects. The nature of projects varies according to 3 main categories:
  • Start-up projects
  • Expansion of existing sites in the region
  • takeovers of regional businesses by international companies.
Nord France Invest's services are not aimed at capital investments.
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The protein industry

in Hauts-de-France

Hauts-de-France is a leading French region in the fast-moving protein market. We have all the resources you need to grow your business, starting with vibrant farming and food industries. Tap into our dense ecosystem, with high-performance research centers and innovation hubs backed by public investment programs.
Nord France Invest

The development of the protein sector
empowered by the agrifood sector en region

In Hauts-de-France, the protein sector is supported by a thriving agrifood ecosystem. Nationwide, we have the sector’s 3rd-largest workforce, and we export more agrifood products than any other region in France. You’ll also find a wide selection of potential partners for protein producers here.

Our business community includes global corporations, such as Barilla, Coca-Cola and Danone, as well as regional companies that are now market leaders, such as Bonduelle and Roquette.

Hauts-de-France, a major leader in the protein sector

  • 3rd French region (jobwise)
  • 1st French region in terms of agrifood products exports
  • + 45K jobs
  • + 1,300 companies
  • €10 bn in sales

Major stakeholders

Coca Cola
Fleury Michon
Invest Partners
Nomad Foods
Whitelink Seafoods
Atlantic Fresh Europe
ETS Lucien
Pruvost Leroy

The protein sector
in France

The global market for proteins is booming, with worldwide demand expected to grow 40% by 2030. This surge is powered by increased appetite for plant protein (set to rise 43% by 2030) and insect-and algae-based proteins—trends driven, in turn, by demographic growth and shifts in food preferences.

In response, in 2020 the French government identified growing the plant protein market as a key food sovereignty issue. And its national strategy for plant-based protein is a vital agricultural component of the economic recovery plan announced by the Ministry for the Economy.

But the plan also tackles two additional challenges:

  • Fighting climate change by bringing legumes back into crop rotations and reshoring production of animal fodder
  • Advancing the food transition

To make France a leader in plant protein for human foods, the government is stepping up investment to build and grow this industry.

And as part of this effort, Hauts-de-France is positioning itself to become France’s top region for new proteins by 2025.

Hauts-de-France, a leader
in the protein market


  • 45,000 ha dedicated to growing plant-based proteins
  • €288 million in annual sales of proteins
  • Top regional crops:
    • Oilseeds such as rapeseed, sunflower and soy
    • Protein crops such as peas and fava beans
    • Forage legumes for animal feed
  • Leading region for insect proteins

International leaders in protein development and production

Roquette, a leader and pioneer in plant proteins

With over 40 years of experience in plant protein R&D, Roquette is ideally positioned to meet rising global demand.

The company has spent years studying next-generation plant proteins to identify the most efficient, most sustainable sources and meet the needs of food producers.

Most recently, Roquette has focused on processing fava beans and yellow peas, both for their nutritional properties and for their low environmental impact.

In Europe, it has invested in a pea protein production plant in Vic-sur-Aisne, in southeastern Hauts-de-France.

NxtFood, a specialist in plant-based meat alternatives

Nxtfood develops and produces 100% plant-based meat alternatives, all made in France. The Lille-based startup has raised more than €10 million from Roquette Ventures and Creadev.

Nxtfood is now building a plant in Vitry-en-Artois, not far from Lille, that is set for start-up in 2022. This new facility will produce plant-based steaks to meet consumers’ growing appetite for plant proteins.


Ÿnsect and Innovafeed, 2 successful producers of insect proteins

Amid rising global demand for protein, insect proteins offer a sustainable, eco-friendly alternative. Ÿnsect and Innovafeed, 2 leading contenders in this segment, have chosen Hauts-de-France as the place to grow their business.

In Poulainville, near Amiens, Ÿnsect is building the world’s largest vertical farm to raise and process Molitor beetles for use in animal feed and fertilizer. In 2021, the company broadened its focus to include food for humans, acquiring the Dutch insect-ingredient maker Protifarm.

In 2020 Innovafeed, another promising player, opened a new production site in Nesle, in central Hauts-de-France.

Agrifood: What are consumers looking for?

Get an overview of the latest trends in this exclusive white paper.
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Agrifood: What are consumers looking for?

R&D and innovation to the fore
to the fore


Hauts-de-France is home to research centers actively involved in a range of plant-based and alternative protein projects:

  • University of Picardy Jules Verne (UPJV)
  • UniLaSalle
  • University of Technology of Compiègne (UTC)
  • Charles Violette Institute

All 5 of these entities have research expertise in agrifood resources and biorefining, and several projects focus specifically on protein innovation.

In addition to R&D, these organizations are training centers, making qualified workers available to the Hauts-de-France agrifood industry.

Specialized innovation hubs

Improve is among the world’s very few centers dedicated exclusively to developing plant-based and alternative proteins.

Extractis is a technology center specializing in the plant extraction process. It can also assist Improve on large-scale projects

Adrianor is an innovation hub with expertise in food product development.

Close-up: Improve

Located in Amiens, Improve (Institut Mutualisé pour les Protéines Végétales) is a private-sector R&D center specializing in proteins. It works with over 420 clients around the world, providing the expertise, services and equipment they need to extract and develop plant proteins and alternative proteins from algae, insects and other sources.


Bioeconomy for change is the region’s Industries & Agro-Resources cluster. Based in Laon, in southeastern Hauts-de-France, it brings together 450 members to promote sustainable industry by extracting value from all plant components and by-products.

B4C created and coordinates Protéines France, a consortium of leaders in the French active proteins market. B4C also leads a plant-based/alternative proteins working group, where researchers and companies can connect and form new partnerships and tie-ups.


Government funding
for the protein ecosystem

France’s national protein plan includes funding for:

  • Investments to build and grow the sector
  • R&D and innovation

Bpifrance is also set to provide support for startups and SMEs in the protein space.

You’re eligible for this funding if you are:

  • A business or member of a business tie-up specializing in variety selection
  • A stakeholder in the plant protein value chain, from pre-production to distribution, storage, processing and sales
  • A business or startup developing innovative products, technologies or services in the plant-based or alternative protein space.

Got a project in the protein sector? Want to know more about what Hauts-de-France can do for you? Looking for R&D partners or funding opportunities?

Nord France Invest is the economic promotion agency for Hauts-de-France. We can help you grow your business.