Dutch people consume an average of 134 grams of vegetables a day. At just over half the recommended daily allowance of 250 grams, this puts the Netherlands at the bottom of the list of European countries for daily vegetable consumption. In its brand-new consumer campaign, HAK is taking the lead in addressing the Dutch social problem of low vegetable consumption in an accessible way. In teaming up with homegrown celebrity chef Herman den Blijker, HAK Nederland is showing the Dutch public how vegetables and beans can enhance any meal in people’s everyday menus. The campaign features HAK’s signature tongue-in-cheek style familiar to consumers.
There has been extensive research into Dutch underconsumption of vegetables and legumes. So what are some of the reasons and barriers? Explanations range from ‘I’m stuck in a routine’ to ‘I don’t know how to use them in tasty meals’ and ‘I simply don’t have the time’. The new HAK campaign shows in an inspiring and light-hearted way how easy it is to enhance popular dishes from people’s everyday menus by adding vegetables and/or legumes.
HAK Marketing and Innovation Director Nicole Freid: “Since healthy eating is simple and brings joy to people’s lives, we’ve tailored our campaign to the weekly meal plans of Dutch people and show them how easy it is to overcome the barriers that cause us to routinely under-consume vegetables.”
Dutch people’s everyday menus
Consumers’ meal routines consist of a menu of just six to ten dishes they eat regularly. The weekly meal plans of Dutch people have changed quite a bit in recent years: while meals consisting of meat, potatoes and vegetables are still part of the menu in 80% of Dutch homes, pasta (number 2; 62%) and salad (number 3; 60%) are growing in popularity. We also note the increased consumption of Mexican dishes (tortillas, etc.), particularly among young families, a staggering 57% of whom eat Mexican-style food at least once every two weeks (source for the above data: Dutch research and consultancy firm No Ties).
The fastest-growing meals sold in supermarkets are Mexican (source: IRI), but since these popular meal types tend to have a lower vegetable content relative to other foods, the campaign shows consumers just how easy it is to add extra vegetables and/or legumes to pasta, Mexican dishes and salads. Freid: “That’s where our popular standing pouches containing vegetables and beans (including lentils, chickpeas, various stews and salad enhancers) come in – they tap right into contemporary food trends.” HAK hopes this will encourage the public to regularly incorporate extra vegetables and beans into their go-to meals with minimal fuss.
Increasing popularity rather than lecturing
In launching the new campaign, NPM Capital portfolio company HAK seeks to promote vegetable consumption in an accessible way. “We have no intention of changing people’s eating patterns or telling them to consume more vegetables and legumes, because people don’t like being condescended to. Unfortunately, our efforts have not really paid off in the Netherlands in recent years, as daily vegetable consumption continues to hover around 130/135 grams. That’s why we’re taking this light-hearted approach, with tasty, healthy and colourful solutions that fit right into consumers’ existing routines and contain lots of vegetables and beans. It’s all part of our effort to increase the popularity of vegetables and legumes.”
HAK is showing consumers that it offers a solution for every meal in the weekly meal plan: for everyone, whether it’s pasta (‘HAK brightens up your pasta dishes’) or a Mexican tortilla (‘HAK brightens up your tortilla’). “We show the breadth and variety of our product range, and in addition we’ve created short TV adverts, online videos and numerous in-store customer touchpoints that provide consumers with the pointers they need: what is it, how can I use it to create tasty dishes, and what foods pair well with it?”, Freid says.