Accepting a technological future of food in the Netherlands

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Wageningen1.jpg

A test tube vs an antic church in the country side.

2 esthetics, 2 cultures, one same goal: feed its citizens quality food, respectful of the environment and of the local culture. How interesting it is to compare the Netherlands and France’s relationship to food!

If you take the train down to the city of Wageningen[1], you will reach the center of the dutch “Food Valley”. This region is centered around the world famous Wageningen University, one of the centers of international food tech, developing both technologies for food processing as well as innovative new food concepts — lab grown meet, additives, lab grown vegetables, etc.

Entering the city, you can see printed on the sign, next to a fork: a test tube. Quite logic for Wageningen… however quite logic for the dutch. Indeed, the dutch may love their family home cooked dinners, they are also quite open to industrially processed foods (ergo the many bags of precut vegetables and plant based meat preparations available of supermarkets). This openness towards food novelty can be illustrated by one study: How open would europeans be lab grow meats? 78% of the dutch say yes vs 16% of the french.

And indeed, the french would be quite shocked to see a test tube next to a food item. The french’s relationship to food is still in majority a romantic, quite nostalgic one, calling on the use of tales and souvenirs.

Interesting to see how 2 countries so close to each other may have such opposite visions of their foods. The dutch had to build their own country on water, no wonder how they do not romanticize nature, they use it, constrain it, shape it, with pragmatism and produce land, water and food.

Related images

Notes

  1. 1h from Amsterdam