Tuesday 07 February 2023

Amsterdam considers snack bar ban to boost plant-based eating

Amsterdam is aiming to ban new fast food outlets around schools now that the council has committed to a City Deal for a ‘healthier and sustainable food environment’, the Parool reported at the weekend.

City Deals are part of a joint programme to promote innovation and make Dutch cities more attractive places to live. Utrecht, Rotterdam, Almere and Ede have also signed up to the deal.

The agreement aims at a 50% plant-based diet for city dwellers in 2030, going up to 60% in 2050.

Officials in the capital say increasing the number of healthy food outlets around schools and public buildings and discouraging, or even banning snack bars in some areas, would be one way to achieve this.

According to figures from 2020 some 15% of four to 17-year-olds in the Netherlands are overweight, which increases their chances of developing heart problems and diabetes at a later age. For adults the figure is nearer 50%. This is expected to rise to 62% by 2040 if nothing is done to reverse the trend.

Some 84% of all food outlets in Amsterdam offer unhealthy products, the Parool quotes health board figures as saying. The city is now investigating legal ways of refusing licences to new outlets or shops.

‘The council has no way of intervening at the moment and that is why we need others to tackle the situation. That is what we are doing with this City Deal,’ Amsterdam’s care services chief Simone Kukenheim told the paper.

The current situation is ‘not encouraging teens to eat healthily. […] And that means no more fast food outlets near schools,’ Kukenheim said.

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