4 years ago

The Partnership no. 11

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  • Enza
  • Cultivation
  • Organic
  • Zaden
  • Partnership
  • Vegetables
  • Varieties
  • Growers
  • Peppers
  • Geothermal

Offer alternatives What

Offer alternatives What could the horticultural industry, as the producer of the things we should be consuming, do to change things? Its first task is to ensure an appealing, varied range of healthy products that are suitable for consumption as snacks between meals. The various breeding companies worldwide have reasonably satisfactorily met this aim. Snack cherry tomatoes have been around for quite some time, and many shops nowadays also sell mini cucumbers and mini sweet peppers, often packed in convenient takeaway pouches or containers. Such snack vegetables appeal to consumers of all ages, but they should definitely be bought more often. The vegetable-processing industry is also making an effort, in the form of a varied range of ready-to-serve main-course salads that are now to be found in many refrigerated aisles. They also offer consumers extra opportunities for choosing healthy, tasty foods for consumption at lunchtimes or as snacks. More widely available But people also get hungry when they don’t happen to be in a supermarket or if they don’t have any snack vegetables at home. So how readily available are such products at schools and childcare centres, at train and petrol stations, in shopping streets and at sports centres? It’s good to see both the range and the availability of healthy alternatives increasing. Marketing and information campaigns A lot of work still has to be done to increase the availability of healthy snack vegetables and encourage consumers to go for healthier options more often. Marketing and information campaigns play an important part in this respect. An information campaign introduced at schools in Brazil teaches very young children what tasty and healthy things they can make with fruit and vegetables. The campaign has the desired impact because the children get to experiment with the products themselves in their classrooms. And in Poland the government joined forces with fruit and vegetable producers, with financial support from the European Union, to promote the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables among young people and boost their awareness of the importance of a healthy diet. Role models Role models can play a decisive part in communicating the healthy message and getting it to stick. Kids like to identify themselves with popstars, YouTube celebs and sports heroes. If these role models set a good example, the chances of it being followed are much higher than when some unknown person tries to tell kids what they should be doing. Other celebrities can also serve as game changers. Take for example the famous British television chef Jamie Oliver. Appalled by the abominable quality of the lunches served at schools, he launched an alarmingly high proportion of young children were becoming a personal crusade that ended in an extremely popular reality soap obese. They also felt that the importance of a healthy diet deserved opera. He demonstrated to school directors and their caterers how more attention from the medical sector in relation to matters tasty, easy and healthy meals can be prepared at low costs. And he such as disease prevention, recovery and cost management. This showed that kids actually enjoy eating such food. encounter prompted a biannual national congress focusing on food Broad cooperation Whatever way you approach children, their everyday diet and reference framework are determined primarily at home. So the horticultural industry will have to continue to communicate with parents, too, in order to get their children to consume more vegetables. Mass-media campaigns of the kind that have been launched in many countries in the past are no longer satisfactory means for realising this aim. A lot more is needed, such as cooperation on several fronts: with schools and sports clubs, with various authorities and with health care in the broadest sense. Also essential are creativity and thinking out of the box, because financial resources are limited. Congress as a breeding ground A few years ago a dialogue arose in the Netherlands between the horticultural industry and the medical world following an encounter between a paediatrician and a grower of micro-vegetables. They found that people were not eating enough vegetables, and that Tasting panels of help in innovation and health, at which leading members of the horticultural industry, health care, child health centres, education, supermarket chains and the catering and food industries meet one another to exchange knowledge and experiences and find new ways of promoting a healthier diet in the Netherlands. Their primary foci are (almost) pregnant women and children, but they want their message to get across to the whole population in the end. The congress has already proven to be a breeding ground for new projects, new networks, mutual commitment and dynamism – also on the part of the Dutch government, which is now working on a National Action Plan for Fruit and Vegetables together with the aforementioned stakeholders. Has the horticultural industry in your country already talked to the medical world? That could be very worthwhile … Enza Zaden is working on the development of different consumption times and new snack vegetables that will appeal to children situations, for example at home and adults alike. This is done on several fronts, or on a train. It’s a very exciting and for example by participating in a broad research helpful project.” project launched by Wageningen University & Research Centre whose aim is to obtain a better Breeders and selectors can use the understanding of the factors determining the information obtained in the project to finetune their programmes and gear them more demand for snack vegetables. specifically to consumer requirements. So “The research focuses on several aspects,” explains Schoevaars has great faith in a healthy Enza Zaden’s Post-Harvest Researcher future. “In northwest Europe vegetables are Anne Marie Schoevaars. “First of all, people must still consumed predominantly as part of the enjoy eating snack vegetables. So taste experience hot meal. There are still many opportunities and taste measurement are important research for encouraging children to enjoy sensible topics. We work with different consumer tasting snacks at other times of the day, too. And panels, one of which consists of a specific group now that we are also working more with tasting of children aged 12 and 13. We also inventory panels here at Enza Zaden we should be able to consumers’ wishes and expectations in relation to achieve success in the future.” 26 | The Partnership The Partnership | 27

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