2 years ago

The Partnership no. 17

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Learning to cook with

Learning to cook with fresh packs In 2015, Bakker Barendrecht - a Dutch service provider for fresh fruit and vegetables - won the third prize in the annual Fruit Logistica Innovation Awards in Berlin for its DIY Fresh Packs – complete packs of fresh ingredients containing everything you need plus a simple recipe. Rarely has an award winner become such an overnight success. This ready-to-make healthy solution was a huge hit in the Netherlands in both the vegetable-based soups and meals categories. The themed structure with the emphasis on foreign cuisines is a striking element. The dishes are adventurous and many are suitable for vegetarians. In this way, young people are gradually learning to cook again – with the added bonus of a slightly broader world view than their grandmothers! 18 | The Partnership Product triggers to make choices easier Supermarkets are also doing their bit to entice consumers to buy more fresh ingredients. These days, fresh produce shelves are brimming with low-threshold convenience packs to prompt the consumer to make healthy choices. Bags of pre-cut butternut squash wedges, bags of mixed pre-chopped vegetables or ready-to-eat salads: all initiatives designed to help consumers buy healthy food without compromising on convenience. "This is partly due to the fact that we are living such busy urban lives," says Marketing Analyst Hans Verwegen. “Everyone is busy; people don’t have time to stand in the kitchen chopping and cooking. Add to that the fact that everyone in a family has their own agenda and sitting down for a meal together has long ceased to be an natural part of the day. A wide range of pre-cut veggies and vegetable mixes responds perfectly to this.” Fresh packs The DIY Fresh Packs sold in Dutch supermarkets, which were nominated for the Fruit Logistica Innovation Award in 2015, fit into this picture – even if they take a little more time to prepare. This response by food retailers to the meal boxes from companies like Hello Fresh has become a major success in a short amount of time. This is also reflected in the decline of Dutch sales of so-called 'world dishes' with only dried ingredients in a small box. Verwegen: “People are now wanting to get more enjoyment out of food and experience real flavours. These fresh packs, which come with all the fresh vegetables, fruit, herbs and spices and whatever else you need to make a dish, fit in well with this trend. All you have to do is add meat or fish if you want to go for a non-vegetarian version. Of course, you still have to chop the ingredients yourself, but you’re cooking yourself, the recipe is easy and you can give it your own twist. The whole process is satisfying, healthy and still easy. The concept is particularly popular with millennials who like cooking with fresh, healthy ingredients.” Challenges Both triggers bring with them new challenges for breeders, such as developing varieties that are easy to cut and have a long shelf life once cut, and smaller sized vegetables for the fresh packs. “A large cauliflower or squash just won’t fit in the box. Also, there are combinations of different vegetables in these packs, so you just don’t need such big products. The ingredients in the packs are in exactly the right quantities, so there’s no waste. But we need to do more if we want to attract the consumers’ attention continuously. Think of good flavours, pleasant textures and attractive colours.” Help choosing Healthy eating often starts in the supermarket. Stores with their own in-house dietitians are no exception these days in North American supermarkets. They walk through the store with the consumer and help them decide what to buy and eat. Thanks to these retail dietitians, consumers can match what they eat ever more closely to their own personal wants and needs. The initiative for this stems from an American study in which dietitians accompanied patients with high blood pressure on shopping trips. The result was that these consumers started eating more fruit and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and unsaturated fats and cut down on saturated fats and salt. Roerink: “Nowadays more and more supermarket chains have fully qualified dietitians walking round to give customers advice on their health situations and lifestyles. They provide nutritional advice, develop recipes and guide customers round the aisles, for example to inform consumers with type 2 diabetes what they can eat, what items are good substitutes, and so on. It’s a really great system for highlighting the elements of a healthy diet and giving practical tips on how to follow it.” Diabetes reversed with healthy diet Arie Derksen started taking medication for type 2 diabetes twenty years ago. And in no small way, either: he was ultimately injecting 64 units of insulin to get himself through the day. His GP recommended a special programme which he could follow to reverse the effects of his disease. His health insurance covered the costs for the “Keer Diabetes2 Om” (Reverse Type 2 Diabetes) programme in which a specialist team consisting of a doctor, a dietitian, a diabetic nurse and a mental coach helped him change his lifestyle. Arie: “It wasn’t a difficult choice. Eighty-eight percent of participants were able to cut down on their medication and were Personalised food All this is just a step up to the next big thing in health trends. The obvious next stage is that, bit by bit, all the initiatives to encourage ideal eating habits will be geared precisely to each consumer’s personal situation. Advances have already been made in this trend towards personalised food in the US, but we are also seeing cautious signs of this in other western countries. fitter and healthier after two years. I wanted that too. The team gave me a lot of advice on diet, exercise and stress. There even were cookery workshops where I learned how to cook low-carbohydrate meals.” Completely transformed The end result is spectacular. Just three months after starting the programme, Arie has stopped taking his medication, lost a good 15 kg in weight and is 15 cm slimmer around the waist. “If you had told me that would happen before I started, I would have said you were crazy. This programme has changed my life. I feel fitter than ever before.” “My life has been transformed.” Arie Derksen The Partnership | 19 Trends

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