Giving a genuine stimulus to the consumption of vegetables among 12 to 18-year olds from a low socio-economic background requires a significant broadening of the product range. In addition to minimally processed vegetables, vegetable-rich products which contain processed vegetables are especially interesting in this framework. The goal of this project is to increase vegetable consumption by developing a varied product range suitable for snacking in-between meals.
Many young people don't consume the recommended daily amount of vegetables of 250 grams. Boys eat an average of 103 grams of vegetables a day, while girls consume a mere 87 grams. Less healthy eating habits are mainly seen in people from a lower socio-economic background.
Innovative new vegetable-rich products
A shelf life of at least ten days is a bottleneck when developing commercially feasible (fresh) vegetable and vegetable-rich products, and an innovative approach is required. Levels of added salt, sugar and (saturated) fat are often too high in the current range of vegetable-rich snacks. An increased consumption of vegetables therefore goes hand in hand with an undesirably high intake of unhealthy nutrients, which means that products don't meet the guidelines for healthy food. Keeping the level of these nutrients low when developing innovative new vegetable-rich products is a challenge, especially in relation to flavour.
Involving young people
This project involves youth from the outset of the development and testing of new vegetable products. It is expected to result in a new approach to product development and research for these specific target groups in real-life situations.
Help with healthier diets
There has to date been very little focus on young people from a lower socio-economic background, yet this target group often makes unhealthy food choices. The research should result in vegetable products which meet their needs and, by helping them eat healthier, make a significant contribution to the prevention of lifestyle-related illnesses.