Healthy Eating & Food Innovation
If you want to stay healthy, you have to eat healthy. The Centre for Healthy Eating &Food Innovation (HEFI) conducts research into the promotion of healthy eating, and acquires knowledge on the health effects of food and the development of new, healthy food products.
HEFI strongly targets the general public and focuses on three dimensions that are important for the promotion of healthy eating:
- the food itself
- the individual consumer
- the environment of individuals
1. The food itself
HEFI takes scientifically substantiated steps towards new, healthy food(s). For example the development of food products that deliver quick and lasting saturation, so that people eat smaller portions and snack less in between meals. In the HEFI food discipline, the microbiological research into the digestive tract is the most elaborated. Other current research in the HEFI food discipline is both of a physiological and metabolic (digestion and health) nature.
2. The individual consumer
Food and nutrition are only half of the story. Human behaviour and changing that are equally important for health and nutrition. The focus of the HEFI research in Venlo is therefore on the factors that influence the eating behaviour of individuals. Think, for example, of research into how the size of the portions, food volume, taste variety, sensory profile and energy density of food influence the appetite. Crunchy foods, for example, are highly valued; and foods with a rich diversity of flavours, aroma and texture lead less quickly to flavour fatigue, which means people can eat more of them. This research is conducted in collaboration with various partners in the region, such as Scelta and Kids University.
3. The environment of individuals
To further ‘steer’ food choice interventions are being developed to organise the environment in such a way that healthier eating patterns develop. Research focuses on the adjustment of the physical, social and economic food environment. Think of the effects of extra taxation of unhealthy food, but also of subsidising a healthy food offer in company restaurants. We also know that the offer of healthy and unhealthy snack in high schools plays an important role, just as the eating habits and awareness of parents.