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Category:Greener Cities

Shaping the future of food

How we produce, access and consume food is very likely to change over the coming decades. The demand for resources such as water, energy and food is rising and will only be exacerbated by climate change.

Shaping the future of food

Greenhouse Beemster Restaurant De Kas

With waterways weaving through its land, wind farms off its shores and a booming agricultural sector, the Netherlands understands (perhaps more than most) the need to secure a sustainable future for these resources.

That is where Dutch ingenuity comes into play. From local farmers and market traders to chefs and business entrepreneurs, there is no shortage of innovation in this vibrant food scene – helping to tackle the challenges ahead.

And whether you’re a local or just visiting, there’s so much to see, do and, of course, taste!

Discover the local food heroes

The Netherlands is renowned for its agriculture and is one of the world’s biggest exporters of farm produce. In 2020, these exports generated a record-breaking 95.6 billion euros. Products such as fruit, vegetables, dairy and flowers have found their way to all corners of the globe – as well as across the Netherlands itself.

In many cities, you can enjoy a locally sourced meal in one of several garden-to-table restaurants. Here, you can experience fresh and nutritious Dutch-grown produce without the environmental impact associated with long-haul food transportation. Or you can let the food come to you! De Maaltuin, for example, is a traveling restaurant that hosts dining experiences in memorable locations across the Netherlands. Think castles, museums and tourist landmarks. In each location, their menu is designed around the local produce on offer.

Alternatively, take a relaxing stroll to one of many local food markets that are widely available throughout the country. Why not check out the famous cheese market in Gouda, De Haagse Markt in the Hague or the Rotterdamse Oogst Markt in Rotterdam? While in Eindhoven, you can find tasty handmade snacks alongside live music and theatre at the Feelgood Market. No matter which village, town or city you’re exploring, there’s sure to be a local farmers market to explore.

Adopt the zero-waste mentality

Young woman shopping in a bulk store

Another way that the Netherlands is leading by example is their make-do-and-mend mindset when it comes to food. With about one-third of the world’s food going to waste, many initiatives seek to prevent food waste by putting existing products to good use.

In Amsterdam or Utrecht, restaurants such as In Stock and The Green House are using food waste from other businesses in their menus. And in other parts of the food industry, catering companies like The Food Lineup are setting an example in Europe for how to embrace unused produce for serving large-scale events. In further efforts to promote planet-positive dining, they also encourage shopping locally and eating more plant-based dishes.

Additionally, as the food and technology industries increasingly intertwine, apps such as Too Good To Go are also supporting the no-waste movement. Available throughout the country, Too Good To Go, and similar platforms, allow local food vendors to sell their surplus of stock to consumers for a reduced price. Have a scroll and see what offers are available to try.

Experience innovations in plant-based dining

With climate change becoming more present in everyday life, many in the Netherlands are turning to vegetarian and vegan food options as a way to cut down their environmental footprint. In fact, studies from the European Union have found that 42% of Dutch residents opt for a flexitarian diet. And in Amsterdam, the city is aiming for Amsterdammers’ diets to be at least 50% plant-based by 2030.

This attitude has spurred on a demand for plant-based food options, not only in specialized restaurants but overall. Take a seat at any restaurant or browse any supermarket and you’re likely to find a lot of intriguing vegetarian and vegan options to try.

In the east of the country alone, over 60 companies are innovating plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy products. Dutch companies that have made a big name for themselves, and whose products can be widely found across the Netherlands and abroad, include Vivera, The Vegetarian Butcher and Willicroft.

So, next time you stop by the grocery store or grab a bite to eat, why not try out some of these products yourself and sample some foods of the future.

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