Updated July 4, 2019 | Amsterdam has launched the Netherland’s first “Health Food Wall.” The concept was designed to provide healthy vegetarian and vegan food options for those that are on-the-go.
Initially a pop-up design, walls are now located in Schiphol Plaza airport and in RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre.
The walls include many refrigerated chambers where various meals are stored. It operates like a vending machine, whereby customers pay with a card to retrieve the dishes they desire. The “food wall” concept is not new to the Netherlands, however, they commonly offer only junk food. In contrast, the Health Food Wall features nutritious, organic vegetarian and vegan gluten-free food.
As well as plant-based meals, the dispensary offers coffee, juices, smoothies, and snacks.
Easy, Organic, Environmentally-Friendly Vegan Food
Vegetarian chef and dietician Anouk Snelders is behind the idea. Speaking to Amsterdam-based newspaper Het Parool last year, Snelders said she saw an opportunity for the project. “I was surprised that there was no concept a la Febo yet: fast, easy, affordable, but then healthy. I saw a gap in the market,” she explained, referring to FEBO, a “walk-up” fast food chain which uses the automatic food walls to serve snacks to diners.
Snelders commented on the obstacle of keeping the food affordable. “Organic and fresh food is simply more expensive. But for seven to nine euros you have a complete meal with us,” she said.
As well as being modestly priced, Snelders was determined to maintain an environmentally-friendly operation. “We keep the ingredients in the meal trays as separate as possible – just in heaps, not with unnecessary plastic. And the plastic that we do use, for sauces and the like, are made of biodegradable material,” she said.
The food is served cold but Snelders noted that shoppers are free to heat the meals up at home if they prefer. But, “They were tested cold and everyone thought it was super tasty,” she assured.
Snelders commented that she was “amazed” that the idea is not used in Europe and other countries, noting the growing demand for plant-based nutrition.