Innovation in Food and Health: Study Into Challenges and Opportunities for Dutch Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

Joop Vree-van Straten, Annet J. C. Roodenburg


This article focuses on the opportunities and challenges Dutch Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the food and beverage industry are facing with respect to innovation in food and health. An online questionnaire was developed to give an overview on attitudes and activities of SMEs with respect to innovation; their interest in trends, among which were health and wellbeing; and their view on logos as a possible way of communication. The questionnaire was held May 2011 with a response of n = 110. Results show that innovation is important for SMEs: over 80% of the SMEs are innovating in products and over 60% in processes. The most appealing trends are: Health and wellbeing, ‘Puur en Eerlijk’ (Note 1) and sustainability. Of the SMEs 70-80% indicate to have a current, and 85% a future interest in these trends. Furthermore 43% used the health logo on part of their product portfolio. Logos that communicate health and sustainability are most popular; 23% of the SMEs indicated not to be interested in the use of logos in general. In conclusion, the identified opportunities for innovation in food and health are: a large willingness to innovate and the increasing interest in the already appealing trend of nutrition and health. There is a moderate interest in (health) logos. Challenges are time, costs, knowledge on innovation in general and lack of specific knowledge on nutrition and health, and unclarities around use and added value (informative and increasing sales) of logos. Also, taste is considered as important as health and cannot be compromised.


innovation, food, health, small and medium sized enterprises, challenges, logos

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Journal of Food Research   ISSN 1927-0887(Print)   ISSN 1927-0895(Online)

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