According to the new Food Pyramid, we should all be eating more fruit and vegetables. However, most people aren’t even able to meet the daily allowance recommended by the previous pyramid. Consumers need a little nudge in the right direction at various points during the day if we aim to initiate a breakthrough in dietary behaviour. Convenience, availability and more variety could lower practical thresholds, according to a recent study conducted by Wageningen UR and GroentenFruit Huis.

Last week, the Netherlands Centre for Nutrition presented its new ‘Food Pyramid’, based on the guidelines promoted by the Health Council of the Netherlands. The daily recommended allowance of vegetables has risen to 250 grams, which is certainly a worthy development towards a healthy society. The only question is: how will we achieve this turnaround? Currently, only 4 -14% of all adults meet the daily recommended allowance of fruit and vegetables.

Lowering thresholds

A study conducted by Wagenigen University Research Centre revealed that consumers eat more fruit and vegetables if certain thresholds are lowered; not only by making these products more easily accessible and attractive, but also by increasing variation in the available product range and convenience. A study conducted at a leading restaurant chain showed that consumers are willing to eat more vegetables – and less meat and fish – at their own initiative if the proportions on their plates are different. ‘Consumers just need a little incentive to eat more fruit and vegetables. We can respond to this as a sector through innovation. The government can help by stimulating collaboration and, in conjunction with Wageningen UR, we can study the best methods,’ affirms Gert Mulder, director of GroentenFruit Huis. The government can set a good example as an employer by offering its employees fruit and vegetables.

Groente-TOP summit on vegetables

The ‘Food for a better life style’ foundation will be organising a summit entitled the Groente-TOP 2016 on 5 April. Representatives from the healthcare and food-growing industries will be presenting their best practices that contribute to a higher consumption of fruit and vegetables. Awards will also be presented to the winners of the Best Veggie Idea for promoting the consumption of vegetables.

Photo: GroenteCongres/Leo Duijvestijn Photography.