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Food environment

The production of food and its availability (for example in shops, canteens and supermarkets) determine the food environment. The food environment in turn influences the food choices people make.

What do Utrecht residents eat?
What people eat affects their health and the environment. Find out more about the eating habits of Utrecht residents.

The Dutch diet
On average, Dutch people do not eat enough fruit and vegetables, too much salt and more sugar than recommended by the Richtlijnen Goede Voeding [Dietary Guidelines] and the Voedingscentrum [Nutrition Centre] (RIVM Briefrapport 2017-0095). The growing opportunities to eat and drink on the go possibly contribute to this development (research by Maartje Poelman). This is no different in Utrecht.

The Utrecht region provides up to 5% of food for its residents
A maximum of 5% of the food that residents of the Utrecht region eat is produced in their own region. In the region there are companies that produce, process, package, store and transport food. This food originates mainly from outside the region, and comes from the Netherlands, Europe and other parts of the world. Compared to other sectors, the dairy sector in the Utrecht region has the best supply for the local market by producing cheese on the farm (RUAF, 2017). The regional food map contains an overview of all locations in the food chain in the Utrecht region that focus mainly on the local market.

The influence of food on the environment
What someone eats has an impact on the environment. Where this food comes from and how it is produced determines its impact on the environment. A more plant-based diet is not only good for the soil, the environment and animals, but also good for your health. In Utrecht, 20-41% of residents have chosen to eat less or no meat. They do this to save energy and spare the environment (Wistudata, 2015). Choosing local seasonal products, such as fruit and vegetables, contributes to a lower environmental impact - by reducing food miles, for instance.

Circular food chain
The food chain consists of production, processing, transport, sales and consumption and, finally, waste processing. Preferably, this is organised as a circular food chain. The way the (regional) food chain is organised affects not only our health, but also social relationships, nature and the economy.