Vegetable-rich snacks for adolescents: a way for increasing vegetable intake?

Zeinstra, G. (Speaker), Herman W. Peppelenbos (Contributor), Meijboom, S. (Contributor), Vingerhoeds, M. (Contributor)

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentationAcademic


Introduction:Vegetable intake of Dutch adolescents is too low. Whereas 250g per day is recommended, current consumption for adolescents aged 14-18 years is 87g/day for girls and 103g/day for boys. In The Netherlands, vegetables are mainly eaten at dinner. As adolescents like to eat snacks during the day, serving vegetable-rich snacks may be an effective strategy to increase their vegetable intake. Aim: To investigate adolescents’ appreciation and buying behaviour of vegetable-rich snacks in a real life setting. Methods:After a baseline period of three weeks, three vegetable-rich snacks were added for 3 weeks to the school canteen assortment of 6 high schools: cauliflower nuggets (period 1), and vegetable balls and vegetable wraps (period 2). Advertising did not refer to the healthiness or vegetable ingredients of the snacks. Sales of the products were monitored and students completed questionnaires to evaluate the products after period 1 (n=833) and period 2 (n=227). Results:The sales of the nuggets and balls was 9-9.5% of the sold snacks in the test period. Wrap sales was 6.4% of the bread-like products. Whereas 66% of the students noticed the nuggets in the canteen, only 14-20% noticed the balls or wraps (p<0.001). Only 10% of the respondents actually bought the vegetable-rich products. They bought the products 3-6 times during the 3-week test period, but gave relatively low liking scores (3.8-4.6 on a 10-point scale). Future buying intention was higher for the wraps (20%; p<0.001) than for the other two products (~11%). Pricing was perceived as right for the balls, whereas the other two products were perceived as too expensive.Conclusions:It remains a challenge to increase vegetable intake by vegetable-rich snacks that are appreciated by adolescents. A longer introduction period, clear communication, enhancing the taste, and competitive prices may be needed to increase the consumption of vegetable-rich snacks.
Period15 Dec 2020
Event typeConference