The Food Pilot is an open-access pilot and demonstation facility as well as product quality laboratory for the agrifood sector.
The Food Pilot is an application and analysis centre where the food industry can optimise its products and processes. The Food Pilot is a total concept, founded by Flanders’ FOOD and ILVO.

The production lines (semi-industrial scale) at the Food Pilot can be used to test new ingredients, recipes or processes. Laboratory analyses and scientific advice are also available. The Food Pilot provides tailored support - either from idea to product, or for one specific step in the processing trajectory. Suppliers can also demonstrate their newest technology or perform tests for their clients in the Food Pilot’s demonstration room, equipped with all necessary utilities. A number of examples in which product innovation is pursued are: dairy and dairy desserts, meat, fish, soups and sauces, vegetables and fruits, bakery and chocolate, snacks and pet food, …

Pilot tests on a semi-industrial scale allow companies to try out new concepts, processes and products. The past 5 years, the Food Pilot has become an important service provider with an integrated approach to collaborate with companies. Companies from various sectors found their way to the Food Pilot, mainly from the ingredients, milk, potatoes, vegetables and fruit, and meat and fish sector.

Resources needed

Food Pilot is embedded within ILVO, Flanders' research institute for agriculture, fisheries and food. ILVO had around 50 million euro in economic resources in 2017.
35% structural funding by the Flemish MInistry for Agriculture.
65% competitive projects, contractual research, business services

Evidence of success

In 2017:
- 23.677 food analyses for 224 companies
- 332 pilot tests for 104 companies (40% KMO)
- 104 advisory services
- 73 intake meetings
- 5 network events
- Planning new demos

Potential for learning or transfer

- How to make pilot and demonstration infrastructure accessible for SMEs
- How to fund research infrastructure through a combination of public/private funds
- Creating living labs for industry 4.0 applications in agrifood industry

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Main institution
Independent (Food Pilot vzw)
Prov. Antwerpen, Belgium (Belgique-België)
Start Date
January 2009
End Date


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