Pieter Vos: people don't trust anything they don't know
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Pieter Vos: people don't trust anything they don't know

  • 13 September 2021
  • Door: Pieter Vos , directeur Nutrilab

Every culture has its own customs; food cultures differ too. Worldwide, the differences are enormous at first sight. Yet everywhere, the ingredients seem to provide enough nutrients, vitamins and minerals for a healthy life. Zooming in on the menus, you see that - however different the tastes may be - there is a basis: our diet consists of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. I suspect that most people are not consciously concerned with the relationship between these basic elements. As long as it fits into our 'meal plan'. That's fine if it is also sustainable. And healthy.

I have noted before in these columns that fats are often discussed in terms of health, while the problem with proteins is one of scarcity and climate change. However, the transport of palm and coconut oil across the world's seas does not contribute to a solution for the climate problem either, apart from the fact that important forests and rainforests are being destroyed for these fats.

The meals to which we are so attached, and which have traditionally been prepared with meat, should taste and look the same in the vegetarian version. As humans, we like to hold on to our habits; they give us a sense of security. We still want chicken nuggets, veal croquettes/ burgers and smoked sausages. So there are innovations in the supermarket in the form of vegan nuggets, vegan sausages, vegan pizzas and vegan 'fish' sticks. However, many of these substitutes are not that healthy, according to recent research by the WUR.

In my opinion, real innovation for the protein problem, both as a solution for scarcity and for the climate problem, requires a completely different vision on our protein consumption. Perhaps we will have to abandon our habits. For example, by putting insects on the menu. There are certainly efforts in this area, but they could be greatly expanded. A good choice, because insects are not only a source of protein, but also of healthy fats. At present, there are more than two thousand insect species known to be eaten worldwide. In 80% of the countries in the world they are on the menu.

The biblical John the Baptizer lived on grasshoppers and honey some 2,000 years ago for a reason: he gTRot the three most important basic ingredients in one bite.

Pieter Vos
Director Nutrilab

Source: Vakblad Voedingsindustrie 2021