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Vegetables to play a leading part in 2017

Trend watchers predict that vegetables will advance further in 2017. For some years now, the Dutch have been eating less meat in favour of vegetables. In recent years, super foods have been popular in particular. That popularity is now decreasing a bit again. 

Why would you get delicate berries from the other side of the world if we also have homegrown super foods? When food has to be flown in, it is often very expensive because of the long journey, but often it also has a shorter shelf life because of that. What actually is a super food? Officially, it is a food with an extremely high nutritional value. If we use that as a criterion, the Netherlands appears to be full of super foods. How about spinach? Or cauliflower? And blueberries. Sprouts are also very wholesome. They all grow very well in the Netherlands, and have a small footprint because of that, resulting in less environmental pressure.

I have never held anything against super foods, because they are still unprocessed foods, without additives. Many processed foods that have been refined can be found in supermarkets. These often contain many additives to improve flavour and shelf life. These products are often stripped of vitamins and minerals, and are just a shadow of what they previously were. That makes super foods progressive, in my opinion. However, it could always be better. And as far as I’m concerned, that would bring us to fresh fruit and vegetables. And it appears as if many Dutch people are also starting to think that.

Well-known supermarkets increasingly often have smart convenience products based on vegetables on the shelves. The vegetable spreads are new, and selling like hot cakes. Vegetable burgers are also winning ground. Beetroot burgers cannot be got on the shelves fast enough. These vegetable steaks are similar to beef and can take the place of meat. Last year, the Voedingscentrum increased the standard of 200 grammes of vegetables per day to 250 grammes. It is a sign that we have to eat more vegetables. Many Dutch people cannot reach this daily standard, because they only eat 127 grammes per day. Because the standard was increased, many people increase their intake unknowingly anyway. Every additional bite of vegetables is something, I think.

The old vegetables from the past are also returning. The term ‘forgotten vegetables’ was not introduced without reason. Think of parsnip, Jerusalem artichoke, winter radish, kohlrabi, romaine lettuce and Swiss chard. I even encountered Jerusalem artichoke soup at a restaurant recently.

Especially kale was popular in our country in recent years. A craze that came here from the US. At one point, they ate kale before, after and during meals there. While we Dutch came no further than hotpot with kale and potatoes, the Americans were much more inventive with the vegetable. They didn’t just come up with kale-based juice, but also with crisps. They discovered that kale can be stir-fried, but also tastes great raw, in a salad. Yet kale appears to be losing some of its popularity in favour of other vegetables. But that is hardly a bad thing. Kale will remain a true, homegrown super food.

It is expected that the leading part will be awarded to cauliflower in the coming year. We have already seen that pizza crusts made from cauliflower are becoming very popular. This trend started in the kitchens of many foodbloggers, but has now also been picked up by the industry. Shops are already selling fresh ready-made cauliflower pizza crusts. According to trend watchers, manufacturers will further expand these kinds of products in the coming year in order to meet consumers’ wishes: more vegetables. The free market system is headed in the right direction, because when demands change, supply also changes. For tens of years we believed in processed and refined food, but by now, that has clearly come to an end. Good news for everyone in the fruit and vegetable sector.

For now, demand will continue to increase. The six-part TV show Hoe word ik 100? (How will I become 100 years old?) was broadcast recently. Its premise is that doctor William Cortvriendt and his team are given one week to help diabetics live without insulin. The main recipe is simple: no more processed food, more exercise, and start eating unprocessed food. We saw people putting their bags and packs in the bin on TV. At the same time, an oven dish was filled with many vegetables. I also think that this TV show has contributed to the advance of vegetables. Demand is only increasing because of this, so that supply will undoubtedly follow.

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Publication date: 3/20/2017


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