Food for preventive health care

Food has a huge impact on people’s health and vitality. Rabobank is accordingly developing various initiatives in this area in the coming years. This 'Food and Health Diagnosis' is appropriate to the bank’s prominent position with respect to food production and health care.

Rabobank intends to develop a broad-based vision

As part of its Banking for Food strategy, Rabobank is forming a coalition with a number of strategic partners, mainly from the food production industry, retail and health care organisations. Together with these partners, Rabobank intends to develop a broad-based vision with respect to food and health under the title ‘Diagnose Voedsel & Gezondheid’ (Food & Health Diagnosis).

Where food meets health

Ruud Huirne, Director of Food & Agri Netherlands at Rabobank: ‘We want to play an active role in the transfer of knowledge, but also a very practical role by supporting start-ups that develop healthy products. We will be making connections between experts from the world of food and agriculture and from health care. We see many opportunities for innovation where the food industry and the care sector overlap that could not only contribute to the vitality of the population of the Netherlands, but also have potential as export products. There is still a world of opportunity where food meets health.’

A very logical progression

By 2050 there will be more than 9 billion mouths to feed around the world. At the same time, in the Netherlands there are food-related problems such as obesity and malnutrition. It is therefore a very logical progression that Rabobank is developing initiatives in the field of food and health. Michel van Schaik, Director of Health Care at Rabobank: ‘Rabobank has a prominent presence in both global agriculture and health care. Our view of health care is that the system is currently too focused on curative medicine. I think there is huge potential if we focus more closely on prevention. From care of the sick to preventive care. Food is an important element in this.’

Food has to satisfy the needs of the human body

According to Ruud Huirne, farmers and growers around the world will have to produce food using more sustainable methods with less ecological impact. ‘Rabobank supports this movement through our Banking for Food strategy. Banking for Food also acknowledges that access to food will not be the only issue in the future, but that food will have to be rich in nutrients and the food produced will have to satisfy the needs of the human body.'

Virgin territory

‘It would seem to be a very good time to focus on food and health, as these issues are especially relevant to our society’, says Michel van Schaik. ‘Certainly in view of the worsening forecasts for the health and vitality of the Dutch population, the related rise in the costs of health care and labour market-related costs as a result of deteriorating productivity. The evidence for the close relationship between food and health is irrefutable, but at the same time much of this area is virgin territory. Our knowledge and insights will not only have relevance for the Dutch market. The issues we are addressing – maintaining the vitality of an ageing population that faces chronic illnesses – are also international.’