Concepts, successes and failures in the promotion of plant-based diets.
A high consumption of vegetables and fruits is one of the most relevant dietary recommendations. Compared to the amounts recommended the actual intake in omnivorous populations of high- and middle income countries is rather low. The promotion of a diet high in vegetables and fruits and, alongside the emphasis on their vitamin content, has resulted in various “reactions”. The pious prayer alluded to in the title of this presentation has become reality already. Various non plant-based food items have been enriched with vitamins from plants. And the supplement industry has profited as well. The question, however, remains, in how far the actual intake of vegetables and fruits could be changed. In addition to dietary recommendations, as provided by the German Nutrition Society, numerous efforts have been undertaken to increase vegetable and fruit intake in the population, either via behavioural or setting modifying interventions. Applied methods include nutrition education, price modification, (free of charge) provision, nudging and multi-component interventions. These interventions were implemented in various settings, e.g. pre-school, schools, universities, work sites. Some single interventions have been analyzed in detail regarding their effects, such as the 5-a-Day campaign or the school fruit programme. In addition, numerous reviews, systematic reviews and meta-analyses have addressed issues of effectiveness of such interventions. This presentation will focus on selected results of studies on intervention effectiveness, will report about successes and failures and will highlight strength and weaknesses of these interventions. Finally, politically motivated approaches, such as the “Veggie day” proposed by the German Green Party (Die Grünen) will be addressed.