Dutch getting fatter, and other food trends in NL

Obesity is rising in the Netherlands, the share of Dutch people with diabetes has nearly doubled over the past decade, and factory farming and supermarkets are increasingly replacing more traditional institutions in the Netherlands. These are among the findings in the publication Food for thought: dietary and health trends in the Netherlands just published by Statistics Netherlands.

As of 2011, more than half of adult Dutch men (54%) and 43% of adult women were overweight. Twenty years ago, these figures were 39 and 31%, respectively. Diabetes is closely linked to obesity; in 2011, 4,7% of the Dutch population had diabetes, nearly twice as many as the 2,8% who had it in 2001.

Consolidation of agricultural industry
The number of farms and horticultural businesses in the Netherlands fell by 28% from 2000 to 2011, while the production value of agriculture rose by 28% over the same period. This increase was mostly due to higher prices (+17%), but production volume also increased (+9%) in spite of the fact that the area of land used for agriculture dropped by more than 6%.

Food trade surplus
International trade in foodstuffs generated a trade surplus of 14 billion euro in 2011, compared with 10 billion euro in 2000, especially due to the trade of dairy products, meat, processed foodstuffs, fruit, and vegetables. About two thirds of the food imported into the Netherlands comes from within the European Union.

Food sector work
Over 4.600 companies are active in the Dutch food sector in 2012, equivalent to 9% of all manufacturing companies. The sector provided 139 thousand jobs in 2011, or 16% of all manufacturing jobs, and since it accounts for 20% of manufacturing value added, the food sector is a relatively productive branch of industry.

Supermarkets replacing specialist shops
The Dutch are buying more and more of their food in supermarkets, with 77 cents of every euro spent on food spent at a supermarket. Bakers, butchers and greengrocers are becoming increasingly rare in Dutch city centers.

Most money spent on meat and fish
About 26% of the food budget of a typical Dutch household is spent on meat and fish, followed by bread and cereals (21%), potatoes, fruit and vegetables (19%) and dairy products (14%). Over the past 50 years, the Dutch diet has shifted from potatoes and vegetables to more meat and cheese.

Carly Blair


Carly Blair



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