Primitive people consume one kilogram of fruit and vegetables per day. In the Netherlands, the majority of the population has trouble consuming even 200 grammes of vegetables per day. Juglen Zwaan, blogger and orthomolecular therapist, wants to increase that number. Because consuming a sufficient amount of vegetables can positively contribute to health, is his reasoning.
The Netherlands has a large number of chronically ill people. The consumption of a sufficient amount of fruit and vegetables could be a solution. “Vegetables contain a lot of good substances,” says Zwaan. He is talking about 120,000 good substances. That is a far larger number than in pills. Furthermore, the fibres in vegetables are good for intestinal flora. “Every person has two kilograms of bacteria in their intestine. The fibres in fruit and vegetables are good for these bacteria, which contribute to, among other things, a healthy immune system.”
If fruit and vegetables are this healthy, why do we eat so few of them? The answer to this question is simple. The food industry researched that people mostly like eating sugar, salt and fat. Three substances that are not found in fruit and vegetables in large quantities.
Innovation and communication
Juices, smoothies, vegetable spreads, banana bread and carrot cake: Zwaan mentions a long list of examples to increase the consumption of vegetables. Playing with colour also stimulates consumption. “The various colours of M&Ms mean you could eat a bag in one go.” But cooperating with the food industry is also a possibility; for example, by increasing the amount of vegetables in pasta sauces, or making a pizza base out of cauliflower or broccoli.
Besides innovations at product level, the sector could cooperate in their communication towards customers. “Many products are unsprayed, but that is not communicated to consumers.” However, consumers find that to be valuable information. Another example is the campaigns that have been launched in other sectors. ‘Break the day, tap an egg’ and ‘chicken, the most versatile piece of meat’ are two examples of campaigns that everybody knows in the Netherlands.