1. Climate-friendly food on your plate
It was called ‘The elephant in the room’ at COP26. The absence of discussion about our agriculture and drastically reducing our meat consumption and production. During the COP, dozens of billboards were displayed for the #dietchangenotclimatechange campaign in Glasgow, which was set up by ProVeg in collaboration with Oatly and Upfield, among others. “Meat should be on the agenda, not on the menu.” is the aim of the campaign. Less meat has been a trend for years, but meat is not the only culprit for the global temperature rise. Deforestation also contributes significantly to this. Those forests are being cut down for the production of – yes, indeed – soy as animal feed, but those trees also have to make way for crops such as palm oil, cocoa and coffee beans. More and more brands are therefore now turning to alternatives so that we can stop deforestation (before 2030, as decided in Glasgow). We are already familiar with vegetable meat substitutes, but how about margarine without palm oil? Or coffee that is not made from coffee beans? Is that the future and a solution to the deforestation problem? The Northern Wonder coffee brand thinks so and promises us coffee from non-tropical ingredients by 2022.
2. New ways to go grocery shopping
There is a good chance that you have seen them this year in one of the big cities: the deliverers of the new super speedy grocery delivery companies such as Gorillas, Flink and Zapp. “Your groceries at home within ten minutes with just one push of a button” is the promise. These companies ensure that you have your groceries at home quickly, but also open many doors for local food entrepreneurs. Gorillas also has products from many local and sustainable companies in its range, such as BUMI and GRO. Logistics is often one of the bottlenecks for local producers, so these flash deliverers are a great innovation for them. Another emerging initiative is Local Heroes, a platform that allows you to order groceries from local food entrepreneurs in your area. They pick up the products for you and deliver them to your home. If you don’t have time to browse through cookbooks, there are plenty of meal services ready to deliver your recipes and the right ingredients to your home. Everything has to be fast, faster, fastest and the way we do our shopping is changing.
3. Exotic but local
There is no way around it anymore: our climate is changing. This means that animals and crops that normally come from far away now also thrive in the Netherlands. These new exotics are not always desirable, but we can do something with them. Where before you could only enjoy local squid on a Mediterranean holiday, you can now buy squid caught by Dutch fishermen. Due to the warming of the seawater, squid, but also octopuses and sardines, are increasingly feeling at home in northern regions. And how about bananas? Originally a fruit from the tropics, but since this year they are also grown by Neder Banaan in Ede. The men of De Nieuwe Melkboer also brought a tropical crop to the Netherlands: soy. And maybe you went to the Sopropo Festival in Almere last September. During the festival, the Surinamese vegetables, which are increasingly also grown in the polder, were in the spotlight. The climate (unfortunately) continues to change, which means that we will probably have even more exotic Dutch products in the future. We are curious which of these will find their way to the supermarket shelf.
4. Organic becomes the logical choice
With Food Cabinet, we have been campaigning for more organic food on behalf of Bionext for over 2.5 years. Organic farming contributes to a better climate, because organic farmers, for example, do not use artificial fertilizers and chemical pesticides. Fortunately, more and more attention is being paid to this and organic is increasingly available, even in ‘normal’ supermarkets. In 2020, the European Commission set the target with the Farm to Fork Strategy that at least 25% of agricultural land should be used for organic farming by 2030. Organic is an important part of the European Green Deal, which aims to make Europe climate neutral by 2050. Concrete targets have therefore already been set that must now be tackled by Member States. That is why I expect that in the coming years we will take more and more steps towards a larger share of organic. Earlier this year, the House of Representatives already adopted four motions to promote organic agriculture and food, and companies are also starting to see organic as an increasingly logical choice.
5. Brands with a mission
Yes: more and more food brands are opting for a mission-driven approach. For example, Koeckebackers gives people with difficulties on the labor market a nudge in the right direction and Fish Tales has the mission to change the course of fishing. food brands that show that you can do groceries with a message. They opened the first supermarket where every product has a positive impact: chocolate without slavery, ketchup without waste and bananas with a fair price. All these food brands show what great missions are possible and how we can all work hard to improve the world’s food. And the list goes on: Together with women from a refugee background, the Mixblik Foundation makes local and sustainable canned meals and the food waste warriors of Too Good To Go were once again voted the most inspiring organization this year. There is still more than enough room for improvement in the social field, so this trend will certainly continue its upward trend for the time being.
6. To fish or not to fish
The vegan range in supermarkets is getting bigger and bigger. A great development! But what I still missed (until this year) were good options for plant-based fish. Fortunately, the vegan fish brands sprang up like mushrooms in 2021 to close this gap in the market. Just think of SeaSooGood with their fish-free canned tuna or Novish with their breaded vegan fish products. All these startups are busy with product development and launching new fish-free products. This vegetable fish is often heavily processed, and the aesthetics seem to win over the nutritional values. For example, the vegan sashimi from Vegan Zeastar consists of 80% water and the rest mainly of glucose and starch. However, you can make very nice sushi with bright orange, vegan salmon. But also for people looking for a natural fish substitute, something new has come onto the market this year: banana blossom. All these fish alternatives are still in their infancy so I expect to see this trend continue to grow in the coming years.
7. Increasingly sugar-free
At the last minute before the new year, there was suddenly the coalition agreement. This expressed the ambition to work for a healthy generation. Good news! One specific passage immediately struck me, because we will certainly see the consequences of this in the supermarket in the coming years: the intention of the new cabinet to introduce a sugar tax. This sugar tax will force producers to produce their soft drinks differently. I already investigated why this took so long with Samuel Levie in this episode of our podcast The Food Cabinet. Less or no sugar in drinks was already a trend, but this will certainly continue in the coming years. Some supermarkets are already experimenting with sugar-free shelves. I wonder who will follow this example!
Enough shifts in the world of food! I look forward with anticipation to 2022 and all the interesting developments that this new year will bring.
co-founder of campaign agency Food Cabinet