A campaign to promote consumption of Dutch produce in the Netherlands to absorb surplus from the Russian imports ban has been seen by nearly 10 per cent of the population.
Samen Sterk, or Together Strong, was launched a week after Russia announced its ban of EU food imports, and has since reached 1.1 million of the Netherlands’ 16m population, organisers have said.
The campaign to stimulate Dutch consumption of home-grown produce has been so successful there is speculation it could be used to launch a ‘Dutch produce’ brand in the future, to promote exports of greenhouse produce abroad.
Celebrity chefs, retailers, seed companies and other key industry producers and suppliers are among those who have backed it in the country.
It has primarily focused on consumer-facing social media messages, including recipes, puzzles, competitions and updates. Last week a competition offered the chance to win a dinner for two in the celebrity chef Herman den Blijke-owned restaurant in Rotterdam, to raise further awareness of the issues at stake for Dutch vegetable and fruit producers.
Consumers also see a promotional banner for the campaign when they log off their internet banking with Rabobank.
Pleun van Malkenhorst, MD of the Dutch pepper grower group Rainbow Growers and one of the founding members of the campaign, said that the Samen Sterk campaign is going from “strength to strength”.
“Key people from the campaign are actually sitting round the table with retailers to discuss the campaign and to find ways of promoting Dutch produce,” he said. “Labels with the Dutch flag are being placed on products from growers involved in the campaign to point out the country of origin to just name one of the action points.
“Who knows what the future holds and it is maybe a bit premature, but it could even be earmarked as a potential ‘national brand’ to promote Dutch greenhouse vegetables being exported to other countries.”
Masterminded by several Dutch grower co-operatives and private companies, Samen Sterk has now been integrated within the umbrella organisation of the Fruit and Vegetable Bureau as a stand-alone initiative. Funding is being supplemented by seed companies and key industry suppliers.