I recently traveled to the other side of the pond to speak at a seminar in the UK. The focus of the event was a topic near and dear to my heart: The Mediterranean Diet.
Organized by the Food and Drink Innovation Network (FDIN) the seminar was designed to give British food and drink companies a soup-to-nuts view — science, ingredients, marketing, cooking — of the Mediterranean diet. The program was developed by the newest member of the Mediterranean Foods Alliance, Simon Poole, a medical doctor whose passion for the Mediterranean Diet is so complete that he has also added olive oil entrepreneur to his list of accomplishments.
The seminar was a great experience and full of interesting and new information, but what took fellow speaker Antonia Trichopulou, MD, and me by surprise was the title of the event. Since both of us have been focused on the Mediterranean Diet for more than 20 years, the Med Diet as “the next big trend” seemed very much behind the times. We were interested to hear that consumer research commissioned by the FDIN for the seminar found that 42% of respondents in the UK were not familiar with the Mediterranean Diet; to us, it presented a more positive picture — 58% were familiar with the Med Diet!
For the speakers at the seminar, the Mediterranean Diet is a lifestyle. For the industry members in attendance, it has the potential to become a way to reach consumers with a good news-healthy eating message. I left the conference with a real sense of hope. At the end of the day, inspiring companies and raising their familiarity with the foods and ﬂavors of the Mediterranean means we are moving in the right direction. This is an opportunity for food and drink companies with healthy oﬀerings to embrace the Mediterranean Diet and all its goodness as they bring great tasting, healthy foods to consumers — thereby, bring us one step closer to a healthier planet.
Regardless, whether it’s new or old, it’s clear that the Mediterranean Diet is one of the healthiest and most delicious ways to eat!