Food innovations that will help you raise your veggie intake, without even noticing.

March 1st 2019

Eat your greens!

Vegetables are and have always been an important part of nutrition. They’re packed with a lot of valuable nutrients, are high in fibre, low in fats and can be surprisingly high in protein. Still, though, many people struggle with consuming enough vegetables. The reason for this can vary from person to person, but ignorance and poor eating habits, in general, are great driving factors. Then, some people - also the ones who do know about the importance - simply do not like the taste of vegetables and therefore struggle to consume them.

As we recently saw a lot of new, cool, innovative products and product-ideas passing by, all here to help raise the veggies-intake, we thought it would be cool to give you an overview of it. So, this month’s inspirations post is about some other examples of how to get in those essential nutrients, next to consuming Queal of course ;) The reason? Some of these companies are (still) quite small, and we think they deserve to be read about.

Also, more in general: all products help fix a (global) nutritional problem. And we think that’s cool, definitely something to encourage!

Wait, but first: how many grams of vegetables should I be eating on a daily base?

A hard question to answer, as this greatly varies per country/nutritional authority. Based on a “moderate” 2000kcal diet, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) advices to consume at least 2,5 cups (or equivalent) per day, while the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK recommends groups fruits and vegetables and recommends a variety of at least 5 portions a day. In the Netherlands, Het Voedingscentrum, recently upped the recommended daily intake of vegetables to 250 grams.

One thing all these nutritional authorities agree upon though, as can be read in their guidelines, is that the consumption of vegetables should not be limited to dinner-time. They should be an important part of your overall intake, therefore all of them recommend to start adding more vegetables to your breakfast, lunch and/or snack routine. All so that you will be sure of a getting in a proper amount of important nutrients.

But how? Well, these cool ideas could help you out!

Magioni - When it comes to the Netherlands, this was actually the first company that started to “smuggle in” vegetables in order to help people meet their goals. But also, and this is the best part, to try and make turn a meal that’s seen as unhealthy, healthy. The flagship product of this cool company is veggie pizza crusts, which are sold for already a couple of years in multiple Dutch supermarkets. You can choose to top off the cauliflower, beetroot, pumpkin, zucchini or supergreen pizza bottom yourself, but for the real convenience seekers: they sell already-topped pizzas too. One pizza base already has 70 grams of veggies. And because a part of the regular dough is replaced, these healthy pizzas contain fewer calories than the normal ones.

Awesome, right? The idea was a great success from the beginning and by now, the product line-up of Magiono also consists of ready-made veggie bread rolls and so-called twisters. Magioni is already selling their pizzas in Belgium and the UK as well, and are ready to expand more broadly.

No Fairytales - Another Dutch company with the mission of turning regular “carb-loaded” bread-products into more healthier ones. No Fairytales produces wraps/tortillas with added veggies. Not only a way to up your veggie-intake in a very easy way (and avoid some carbs, if you’d want to), it’s very cool looking too because of the bright beetroot, bell pepper, kale and carrot colours.

AH groentenbrood - A great example of how you’d tell something is a great idea: when a very big company jumps in. Albert Heijn, considered the largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands, only very recently launched their version of bread-with-vegetables. They sell pita-style bread rolls that consist of 35% vegetables, in a green (spinach), red (beetroot), orange (bell pepper) and white-ish (cauliflower) variant and a normal-style bread (the one you turn into slices) in red (beetroot) and orange (carrot).

Cauliflower Gnocchi - Trader Joe’s, a well-known “neighbourhood grocery store” in the United States with a broad range of unique food items was already experimenting with ways to add veggies to pizza crusts and patties but now recently launched a veggie variant of gnocchi. In relation to the regular version of gnocchi, traditionally made with flour, eggs and mashed potato, this one has cauliflower. A whopping 75%, wow! In Trader Joe’s own words, this new healthier style of Italian dumplings will truly “gnoc your socks off”. Let’s hope they will expand their empire and open European shops soon, as we can not wait to try these!

Grunten - A Dutch start-up with the mission of secretly adding more veggies to peoples breakfast routines, cool! How? By selling pie-flavoured oatmeal pots that all contain 125 grams of vegetables. If you would have one of these for breakfast, you’re already halfway there. Now that’s what we call a healthy start. Red velvet brownie contains beetroot, Apple Pie has cauliflower in it and carrot cake is a bit like our own Ready Carrot Break but has sweet potato and pineapple too.

Tofu brownie HAS - Although this post is about easy ways to get in more vegetables, and soybeans are legumes, we recently stumbled upon another very great idea: tofu brownies. You may have heard about (black) bean brownies already, but it turns out that tofu works just as well. On a recent event of the “Hoge Agrarische School”, which is kind of the Dutch higher education for people in the agricultural sector, we tasted a tofu loaded brownie. Delicious and a great way to get in some protein!

Banza - Another cool example of a company that makes pasta made out of legumes is Banza from the United States. By using chickpeas instead of regular flour, the pasta is gluten-free, is significantly higher in fibres and protein, and a bit lower in carbohydrates. Next to offering 10 (!) different variations of plain pasta (from well-known penne to more unfamiliar shapes as Cavatapi and Ziti), the company has ready mixes for chickpea-pasta mac and cheese (yay!) and developed rice based on chickpeas too, cool!

STROOOP! - The classic Dutch “stroopwafel” is truly delicious, have you tasted one before? Unfortunately, though, they’re not really healthy. Food designer Chloé Rutzerveld decided that they can be though, by developing one that’s based on, well… vegetables! To be exact: vegetables that are considered too ugly to be sold in stores, nutrition bombs that would otherwise be thrown away. Chloe’s STROOOP! Stroopwafels are made of 100 grams vegetables each, are 100% plant-based, very cool looking and an easy way to make the Dutchies (and foreigners too, of course) eat more vegetables while still enjoying a classic treat. Yum!

Does it have future growth potential?

Yes! At least, if you’d ask us. The innovations mentioned above are just a few of the many cool veggie-infused products entering the food market. As most of us fail to consume the recommended daily amount of vegetables, picking these kinds of products over the regular ones could help you to make a change, most of the times without even noticing.

Still, although this is already a big plus compared to the non-veggie counterparts, the above products mainly focus on “just adding” vegetables. Which is great, but does not automatically mean the product is balanced and nutritionally valuable (which Complete Foods are). Not a big deal when it comes to replacing other - more unhealthy - snacks and meals now and then, but when it comes to creating healthier eating habits overall it is wise to look at the bigger perspective.

Thanks for reading, we hope this post brought you some inspiration. If you have any cool product innovations to share yourself - whether it is about this subject or something we could write one of the next posts about - don’t hold back! We’d love to hear about the things you find interesting.