A shift to more plant-based foods and less animal-based foods positively affects both health and the environment. This also holds for a shift towards more plant-based and fewer animal proteins. However, there is still a lot of work to do in facilitating such a diet shift and, in fact, we are not sure what the current situation is and what policy measures do work in practice.

Last year, the municipality of Amsterdam, AMS Institute and Wageningen Research took the first steps in exploring the existing situation in the catering facilities of the city of Amsterdam. The idea is that the working environment offers possibilities to stimulate citizens to eat more plant-based rather than meat-based food. To set a good example, the existing situation had to be defined: what is the current ratio of plant-based versus animal-based protein consumption in the different catering facilities of the city of Amsterdam?

“Translation of policy targets into measurable criteria requires further discussions with all stakeholders in the field and should include effort, time and costs to reach these targets.”

Willie van den Broek

Program Developer Metropolitan Food Systems

Calculation tool

The first activity was to design a calculation tool to measure the aforementioned protein ratio for the catering facilities of Amsterdam and the Wageningen University & Research campus. During the development of the calculation tool, some essential decisions had to be made. The first decision was on the context of food use (supply channels): situations where workers had to pay for their food (such as in the company canteen) or situations where the employee had to pay for the food (in banqueting, like lunches before, in or after meetings). The second decision was about the used data source: calculation based on purchase (caterer) data or sales data (consumer).


Then it was time to test the calculation tool. The result of the project was a protocol to calculate the plant versus animal-based protein ratio for a catering restaurant based on sales data. The protocol was tested for both locations: the first calculation of the protein ratio for the catering in Amsterdam was not obtained because the required sales data (especially details about the menu cycle) could not be retrieved, whereas the first ratio calculation for the catering at the campus of Wageningen University & Research could be calculated and was close to 70:30 plant-based versus animal-based. The calculation tool is now scheduled for further testing and used as an instrument to monitor policy ambitions.


Lastly, the third activity was to apply interventions to stimulate the choice of plant-based food products in catering, such as information provision, elimination of options, facilitation of choice, availability of choice and alternative plant-based options. Elimination and availability of choice seemed to work best for the catering in Amsterdam, and feedback from the caterer and customer was positive. More interventions should be studied at different locations to adapt to different customer profiles to shift towards more plant-based food choices.

  • January 2022 - December 2022


Wageningen University & Research
City of Amsterdam