CEMAS Valencia and World Food Center Ede: common goals

In October 2016, the city of Valencia and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome signed an agreement. Various forms of cooperation were agreed in this, aimed at improving sustainable urban food systems. It World Sustainable Food Center (WSFC, or CEMAS in Spanish) is one of the most important results of this agreement.

The WSFC wants to promote, manage and coordinate activities related to sustainable food protection. It lists the many initiatives, in cities around the world, that are aimed at setting up sustainable local food systems. In addition, a physical location has been opened from which knowledge is shared and all issues related to food, nutrition, the fight against hunger, climate change and sustainable local food systems are cooperated.

Last week, prof. Cristina M. Rosell in the Netherlands. Rosell is a professor at the Spanish Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA-CSIC) and a member of the advisory board of WSFC Valencia. She met her colleague & #8217; s from the municipality of Ede and from the Swedish region of Östergötland. She also participated in World Food Day at the World Food Center.

We have just started

“WSFC in Valencia was only officially opened in July this year and is therefore still in the initial phase. And that is just one of the many things we have in common with the World Food Center in Ede, "begins Cristina M. Rosell.

Great initiative
“The World Food Center is a great initiative and there are certainly many opportunities to work with WSFC Valencia. We share common goals, in line with key FAO strategies, in the fight against hunger, sustainable urban food systems, climate change, nutrition and food wastage. & #8221;

“That is why we are now looking for the exchange of information and the joining of our forces, because sharing knowledge means that desired and required changes and transformations can proceed faster. We are open to any initiative regarding food, food management and food systems. And want to help make this visible to the world so that others can build on those experiences. & #8221;

These initiatives take time
“The WSFC started with two people who shared a common concern about food systems and food issues in the world. These were the former director of the FAO and the mayor of the city of Valencia. They jointly decided that something had to be done and saw that cities became increasingly important in the implementation of FAO policy and the implementation of initiatives. Cities bring the policy to the citizens. & #8221;

“They already signed the agreement in 2016 and from that moment they work together. It shows that these things take a lot of time, from idea to realization. Legally there are so many things to set up, and although we now have our own location for meetings and presentations, there is still a lot to do. & #8221;

Local initiatives with global impact
“WSFC is an institution led by the Valencia City Council and the FAO, but other local authorities and institutions must be actively involved in order to make CEMAS a success and to promote global activity. It must become the reference for sustainable food in cities. From a global perspective, the WSFC goal is to gain knowledge and to map all initiatives worldwide when it comes to creating sustainable food systems. Get inspired by ideas from different parts of the world and help by exchanging these ideas and projects. ”

& #8220; WSFC is still a government organization, but & #8211; like WFC Experience & #8211; we are investigating the possibilities of creating another legal entity with which we can work more independently & #8221 ;, Cristina Rosell adds. “I believe that in organizations such as ours, which work for citizens and municipalities, the government plays an important role. However, it should not be the only party. The initiative may be local, but the impact and scope are international, so organizations such as WSFC and WFC should be independent of governments and also include initiatives and ideas from the private sector. ”

“Just like the World Food Center, we have an advisory committee consisting of experts from different areas. This committee is still expanding. We wanted this Advisory Committee to be neutral because the WSFC is not about commerce. It's about social engagement. & #8221;

 Ede and WSFC cooperation
“My visit here was really useful. I am impressed because I did not know much about the WFC nor about Ede. I did not know what I would find here, but I was pleasantly surprised! The World Food Center is a really good idea and I am sure we can join forces to work on improving both local and international food systems. We are now discussing how the collaboration can be made more tangible. "

How do we start?
“For me, the success of those initiatives will come if we think globally but act locally. Locally, citizens must believe in and be enthusiastic about these initiatives. They must think that these initiatives are worthy of the support of their local and regional authorities and other stakeholders. We therefore have to convince them jointly with specific actions and clear results, "Cristina Rosell continues. “We can start by sharing experiences and exchanging ideas on how we can better involve the citizens of our cities. "

Local food, local initiatives
“Local food can be a starting point. How do we add value to local products through local markets? What is the experience of the two cities in making local food more attractive for the local market? How can we make local markets more lively? These markets must be more than points of sale, they must be meeting points. To make meeting points of it, you need concepts that attract people. The experience of buying food in a market is more than just the purchasing process and the product. We need to make local food markets more attractive, offer more experiences. I think Ede and Valencia can share their knowledge in these areas to see what we can learn from each other. "

“It applies to every consumer: if you see something every day, you no longer attach the right value to it. It has then become too 'normal'. People therefore often seem attracted to new and different products that come from the other side of the world. Probably because they seem more exciting. So how can we make local goods more exciting? We must make changes in taste, colors and the preparation of the food, then people will appreciate the new added value of the product. We must integrate innovation with local food. "

Experience Center has great potential
“CEMAS is not an experience center. It is about knowledge exchange and communication. Unlike the WFC, it is not an attraction or permanent exhibition. In the WFC Experience you focus on children. This makes sense because they have the potential for the long term, for future generations. But you also have to balance this with short-term successes and things with short-term impact. People want to see fast results to support the long-term initiatives. "

International challenges
“The biggest short-term challenges are different for different parts of the world. Every country has different problems. In Europe it is about waste, plastics and sustainability. For cities, the biggest challenge is to have a food system that is local, with enough food for the cities and close enough to keep logistics simple. You cannot create solutions that are equally valid all over the world. While for us this concerns nutrition, health and well-being, the focus for many other countries is still on basic food and survival. & #8221;

“But all choices and solutions are interrelated, so you have to think globally. People want to be surprised by food, and this creates hypes, like quinoa and teff. But with that practice we take away the basic or basic food in the countries where production takes place. It is ironic that health-conscious people in particular do not always seem to be aware that they sometimes cause such problems in other parts of the world. & #8221;

Let's start!
“The biggest goal now in the short term, for both WSFC and WFC, is to start activities and deliver on the promises. And for us together, this means that we have to share our experiences as well as possible, try to improve and keep our communication open. I'm really looking forward to this collaboration! & #8221;

From left to right: Frnrkje Idema (program manager Food Municipality of Ede), Cristina M Rosell member of the Advisory Board of the World Sustainable Urban Food Center in Valencia), Thomas Högman (EU adviser in the Östergötland region), Leon Meijer (alderman of the municipality of Ede and chairman of the WFC steering committee) and Martin Tollén ( member of the Östergötland region)

& #8216; Go for Color Lab & #8217 ;: Nudging works in supermarket

Research shows that you make around 200 food choices every day. For example, you decide what you want for breakfast, what food you put in your basket and whether you have another cup of coffee. The majority of those choices are impulsive, automatic and unconscious. They are strongly influenced by the food environment.

& #8216; Go for Color Lab & #8217; with Dirk
How strong that effect can be was demonstrated during the & #8216; Go for Color Lab & #8217;. A project aimed at increasing the consumption of fruit and vegetables, whereby a supermarket branch (Dirk) in Leidschenveen was transformed into a nudging laboratory for 6 weeks.
Nudges are small nudges that make it easier for people to use certain & #8211; in this case, healthy choices & #8211; to make.

The National Fruit and Vegetables Action Plan (NAGF) wants & #8211; in the context of the National Prevention Agreement & #8211; increase Dutch consumption of fruit and vegetables and at the end of 2018 started an experiment on the potential of nudges in the supermarket. This shows that consumers can be encouraged to buy more fruit and vegetables with a few simple nudges.

For the experiment, the Dirk branch in Leidschenveen was transformed into 'Go For Color Lab' for six weeks. Fruit and vegetables were given a more prominent place by subtle changes in the shopping environment. For the first time in the Netherlands, so many different nudges have been tested in a supermarket at the same time. It involved seven variations, including access gates, shopping cart inlays and a healthy selection at the checkout. The changes in sales figures have been comparedand with a Dirk control supermarket without nudges.

The lab was developed and carried out by Food Cabinet in collaboration with the Free University of Amsterdam and commissioned by the National Action Plan Fruit and Vegetables (NAGF).

Get started together
After the successful experiment, the NAGF is calling on other supermarkets to also get started and use nudging to stimulate fruit and vegetable sales over a longer period.

In the coming period, work will be carried out on a follow-up to the Go for Color Lab where nudging will also be used at other locations to help Dutch people eat healthier.

Interested? Please contact Sebastiaan Aalst via sebastiaan@foodcabinet.nl or Karin Bemelmans via bemelmans@nagf.nl

World Food Prize received by Simon Groot

Simon N. Groot (84) was the first Dutchman to receive the World Food Prize on 18 October in Iowa. The prize, which was awarded for the 34th time this year, went to plant breeder Groot for his successful commitment to offer millions of small farmers in more than 60 countries a better economic perspective. By significantly improving local small-scale vegetable cultivation, he and his company East-West Seed not only increased income for small farmers, but also ensured that millions of consumers could benefit from better access to vegetables for a healthier diet with more nutrients .

The award of the World Food Prize, also known as the "Nobel Prize in Food and Agriculture," was already announced on June 10 by US Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mike Pompeo. Last night, the prize, with a cash prize of $ 250,000, was handed over to Simon Groot during the Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium (Burlaug Dialogue) in Des Moines, Iowa. Here 1,200 experts from more than 65 countries discuss the most important developments in the field of food safety, availability and nutrition.

Through the Borlaug Dialogue, the World Food Prize Foundation helps to create alliances in the fight against world hunger and malnutrition.

This year's theme, & #8220; Pax Agricultura: Peace Through Agriculture & #8221;, examines increasingly closely related developments in the areas of food security, conflict and development. With topics ranging from religion, diplomacy and climate to scientific innovation and entrepreneurship, the Dialogue offers the opportunity to take stock of the current state of affairs in global agriculture and food safety.

Video of the presentation:

Prof. Dr. Ir. Louise O. Fresco
One of the guest speakers at this symposium was Prof. dr. Dr. Ir. Louise O. Fresco, Chairman of the Executive Board of Wageningen University and Research. She spoke about topics like & #8220; Getting to Zero Hunger: Research for Resiliency & #8221 ;. Regarding the award of the prize to Simon Groot, she says: & #8220; I am proud that our scientific research has also contributed to the great success of tropical vegetable growing. Cooperation between all parties is the strength of the Dutch approach. Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug is said to have shared Simon Groot's conviction that food security is not just about calories, but also about nutrients that are in good vegetables, such as vitamins and minerals. ”

World food price
The World Food Prize is the most important international award for those people who have made exceptional achievements to improve the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. The prize was founded in 1986 by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, recipient of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. Since then, the World Food Prize has honored 49 outstanding people who have made significant contributions worldwide. http://worldfoodprize.org


Nudging: easy, cheap and effective?

The World Food Center Experience wants to make people aware of what they eat and how their food choices affect themselves and the world around them. More conscious choices must lead to better choices. But to achieve actual behavioral change, awareness alone is not enough. When we have other things on our mind, it is not that simple to say no to daily temptations. Even though we know so well that we would better make other choices.

Effectiveness of Nudging in real life
That is why there is currently a lot of interest in nudging: influencing behavior without the need for willpower. But how effective is this approach? Does nudging also work in the long term? Are the effects large enough to really have an impact on health?

During the Annual Healthy Innovation Congress, on June 6 at the WFC Merije from Rookhuijzen (Wageningen University & Research) the possibilities and limitations of nudging when changing and assessing eating behavior: "It is fascinating to see how consumer choices can be influenced by apparently irrelevant adjustments."

When do nudges work or not?
The popularity of nudging has been increasing strongly in recent years. Since the code of conduct 'Nudge'was released in 2008, it is particularly popular with organizations that want to seduce consumers into' good 'behavior. Behavior that is in the interest of the individual and society.

“Making people aware of course influences the conscious choice process, but many of the purchasing and consumption decisions concerning our daily food are made much less consciously. We make so many choices a day that a large part of it goes unconsciously. Simply because we do not have the capacity to make all choices conscious. "

“With such an unconscious choice you can be influenced by a nudge. Awareness-raising and education can therefore have an additional effect on nudging and vice versa, whereby nudges can also create awareness themselves. ”

“Nudging seems easy, cheap and effective. But for the time being, many questions can be asked about this. "

"In our research we look at the effectiveness of nudging in practice, in real life," says Merije van Rookhuijzen. “In the standard nudging studies, much has already been looked at what happens when you put products in a supermarket in prominent places, such as at eye level. Under controlled conditions you can then see whether something has an effect. But only at that moment. I also want to know if nudges can also have an impact in the long term. Do people continue to eat brown bread even after the nudge has lapsed? And if the consumer enters another supermarket, are the previously observed effects still there? ”

“We have done a major study in two football cantines. In the first phase, the healthy products were only added to the range. In the second phase, nudging took place in various ways. That way we could place the desired products on the bar and present them, position them at eye level or at the front in the refrigerators. We also offered healthy varieties as standard. For example, if someone asked for an AA sports drink, we automatically gave the sugar-free version. "

More research needed
“The sales figures showed that these nudges helped, but it remained marginal in the end. The supply and sale of unhealthy products in the sports canteens remained many times greater. Nudges alone are not enough. You must also use and combine other behavioral influencing techniques. We also need to do more research into the 'shelf life' of the nudge. In the figures for our canteen, for example, we first saw an increase, then a decrease and later an increase in sales of healthy, 'nudged' products. ”

"The success of a nudge also depends on the strength of other factors that also unknowingly influence your behavior," says Merije. “So if you are really looking forward to a big bite, placing an apple at eye level won't help. If you only want to eat then eye level might influence your choice. Knowledge and awareness are not enough, just like food labels. "

“Nudgen takes small steps and can be strengthened in combination with other elements from behavioral psychology. Certainly more research is also needed, for example, we still do not know how the nudges undermine the conscious and independent capacity of the consumer to choose. If a consumer is always used to seeing that the best product for him is at eye level, it may also be that he then no longer thinks and always takes those products at eye level. ”

Merije van Rookhuijzen is a PhD candidate in the Consumption and Healthy Lifestyles chair group at Wageningen University & Research. Merije studied psychology at Radboud University and health & society at Wageningen University.

Look here for more information about the program and sign up.


WFC EDE, 10 am - 6 pm

The congress deals with the issues surrounding sugar on the basis of three main themes: the product same food environment in which it is offered and the lifestyle of consumers.

The product: new sugars or fewer sugars?
This is the challenge: how do you get sugar from cookies, soft drinks and sauces? Are artificial sweeteners like that harmless? Is reformulation really possible? Sugar reduction is nice and nice, but companies want to continue to sell a good product.

The food environment: de-sugaring the supply
Everywhere you are tempted by sweet, but also by fat and salt food. The supermarket is full of it and it costs less than healthy food. Does it help if snacks with less sugar are also offered?

The lifestyle: designing your life with little sugar
Lifestyle change is the magic word. Everyone must eat and drink less sugar. That is not at all that simple in a household with children. It starts with becoming alert to sugar. What is in what? And is all sugar the same?