Producers, retailers, trailers and consumers will work together, ensuring a sustainable, circular and transparent food chain.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
The Netherlands is a small and densely populated country in Northwest Europe. Much of the country is below sea level and through dikes, canals, and our famous windmills (pumps) we manage to keep our country safe from the water. The Netherlands is a mixed population with many nationalities. About 70% of the people live in cities, with the largest density of urban area in the West ‘Randstad’. The Dutch have a diverse culture, reflecting regional differences and many foreign influences built up by centuries of our mercantile and explorative spirit. Our culture is a based on cultural liberalism and tolerance. We speak Dutch and almost all people speak English very well, and several other languages such as French and German. Though small, the Netherlands has many world famous icons related to the agriculture and food system: cheese (e.g. Gouda) and cheese markets, wooden shoes (farmer shoes), windmills that keep our lands dry, and off course the famous tulips and other bulb flowers. Our food culture is based on some of the traditional food crops grown here: mashed potatoes and kale, and from our fisheries: Dutch new herring. Other famous Dutch foods include stroopwafel, kroket, dropjes and off course lots of Dutch cheese. Typical Dutch lunch is cheese sandwich with a glass of milk. But nowadays, also with the international influences, the Dutch food culture is very internationally oriented. The Dutch agricultural sector is world famous for its productivity and efficiency. If food security were to be the main evaluator of a ‘successful food system’, the Netherlands would score very highly as one of the most food-secure countries in the world. Additionally, this tiny country is the second exporting nation in the world. Our most important (export) products are dairy, vegetables (incl seeds), potatoes, meat, flowers, and flower bulbs. For year-round production we have large areas under greenhouses, for example our ‘Westland’. By night, the landscape is lit with orange greenhouse lights, especially during winter. Equally important is our long history of cooperative entrepreneurship in the agrifood with farmer cooperatives, food processing cooperative (e.g. Friesland Campina dairy) and a cooperative agricultural bank. We are used to collaborating, it is in our nature. However, currently half of the adult Dutch population is overweight or obese and health care cost recently rose to a record-high 100 billion Euro. The government, in collaboration with food system organizations, developed a Prevention agreement that includes more healthy diets. However, more needs to be done. Also, many initiatives focus on aspects of food system transformation, e.g. , protein transition, reduction of food waste and losses, short supply chains and implementation of true cost and (urban) community shared agriculture.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
By 2050 we will have a sustainable, circular and transparent food chain. Food production using the best available technologies will have a positive impact on the planet and on nature. Socially responsible business conduct will be a given for food producers. Trade and retail will be the green link between consumers and producers. The range of foods available will reflect the aim to minimise environmental impact: our diet will be seasonal and we will pay the true cost of products. We will have a food culture that places a premium on the quality, sustainability, nutritional value and taste of our food. Our diet will consist mainly of plant-based products. We will not throw food away and will use only biodegradable packaging when necessary.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
By 2050 our entire food chain will be sustainable, circular and transparent. Producers, retailers, traders and consumers will work together, ensuring that the production, supply and consumption chain is a closed cycle. As consumers, we will consciously opt for sustainable, healthy and mainly plant-based products.
HOW WILL OUR FOOD BE PRODUCED IN 2050?
By 2050 we will be producing our food in a circular and climate-neutral way through smart use of technology. The entire food chain will be a closed cycle. Food producers will exercise their social responsibility.
By 2050 we will be producing our food in a circular and climate-neutral way, respecting people, nature and agriculture. The production of food will have a positive impact on the planet, with food production, nature and biodiversity all enhancing each other. By 2050 there will be enough food for the entire world population and the agricultural sector will have adapted to a changing climate. We will ensure that greenhouse gas emissions are virtually zero. We will establish closed cycles within the food chain, using no more raw materials than necessary. Waste flows will be reused in the chain to fertilise the soil. At the same time, we will use no more land than necessary for food production.
Healthy, fertile soil is the basis for agriculture and is part of the farmer’s business model. New and different products like seaweed, nuts and pulses will also be grown. Crops will be produced primarily for human consumption and crop residues will be used as animal feed or to improve the soil. By 2050 our food will also be produced in alternative locations, such as on rooftops,vertically on walls, on the water and in vacant buildings. The agricultural sector will be technology and data-driven, with open-source and other technology making it easy for producers to monitor their water consumption, soil and crop status, and get the latest weather forecasts. Food production will be better controlled and made more efficient through precision farming.
More than just a food producer
By 2050 food producers will exercise their social responsibility. Farmers will play an important part in nature conservation and in ensuring a living countryside. In food forests, we will combine food production with nature, recreation and education. Entrepreneurs will be able to combine food production with services to society, such as social farming, agri tourism and marketing in short food supply chains. Farmers will be able to create new business models, for example by becoming data producers, supplying essential raw materials for the bio-economy or fixing carbon in the soil. Startup and transition grants will give farmers the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial or innovative ideas themselves.
WHAT WILL RETAIL AND TRADE BE LIKE IN 2050?
By 2050 our food chain will be sustainable and transparent. Trade and retail will be the direct, green link between consumers and producers and we will pay a fair price for our food.
Sustainable, transparent and fair chain
By 2050 all links in our food chain will be sustainable and transparent, and the chain from farm to fork will be as short as possible. Farmers and other agricultural workers at home and abroad will receive fair remuneration. Large companies will use their influence to make the chain fairer and more sustainable and will no longer have a monopoly over the food supply. Within the chain, businesses will no longer compete on efficiency or lowest price, but primarily on quality,nutritional value, animal welfare and the contribution made to nature or biodiversity. Short, local chains will ensure good relationships and collaboration between producers and consumers, enabling a better match between supply and demand. As a country we will focus mainly on exporting knowledge and only rarely on exporting products.
By 2050 our food supply will mainly depend on the seasons and on environmental and climate impact. Supermarkets will select products on the basis of sustainability, flavour and nutritional value, not size,shape and colour. We will determine the price of a product based on its true cost. This will encourage consumers to opt for sustainable products and will ensure that producers receive a fair price. We will use packaging only if it combats food waste by demonstrably lengthening shelf life. We will use biodegradable materials for packaging or ensure that packaging is recycled.
In 2050 we will minimise energy consumption in the logistics chain and the energy we use will be renewable. Retail will be the direct, green link between consumers and producers. We will use technology to indicate the route a product has taken and how much energy has been used. This will provide transparency and clarity for consumers about product origin. Within the chain, we will make smart and efficient use of transport thanks to a shared general distribution network.
WHAT AND HOW WILL CONSUMERS EAT IN 2050?
By 2050 we will be aware of the impact of food choices and will have a food culture that places a premium on the quality, sustainability, nutritional value and taste of our food.
By 2050 we will have a food culture that places a premium on the quality, sustainability, nutritional value and taste of our food. Children will learn from an early age where their food comes from and what healthy and sustainable food is. We will have an eating culture that includes experimenting with food, dining together often and spending time on cooking and eating. To reduce our impact on the planet, our proteins will mainly be plant-based protein rather than of animal origin. By 2050 eating meat will not be the norm. Our diet will consist mainly of plant-based products such as vegetables, pulses, nuts and seaweed.
Awareness and buying behaviour
By 2050 we will consciously choose sustainable, healthy products in supermarkets, which will play their part in changing consumer buying behaviour. The hotel and catering sector will introduce us to local, seasonal products. Schools and company canteens will set an example by serving healthy, sustainable meals. The government will promote a healthy, plant-based diet, for example through public information campaigns or financial incentives.
By 2050 we will not throw any food away. We will prevent leftovers by buying in bulk less often and cooking suitable portions. Moreover, we will not be deterred if a vegetable has a blemish or a fruit is oddly shaped. Any food that is still left over will be shared, for example via an online food network. Food that is not sold on time in supermarkets will be used in the hospitality industry. If food really has reached the end of its shelf life, it will undergo circular processing; the agricultural sector will use any residual flows. It will be easy for consumers to find out about the shelf life of products, for example using a mobile app.