Food for Care - Care for Food

  • Research project

Food hubs in the Northern Netherlands see an opportunity to substantially broaden their services by selling regional food products not only to end consumers, but also to larger institutions such as healthcare providers. Of the latter, the hospitals have laid down their intention to purchase in a socially responsible manner.

Aim of the project

The aim of this project is to ensure a better connection in the local, short food chain between food hubs and hospitals. Together with parties in the North, we want to develop a new business model for the food hubs, consisting of a proposition, its marketing and the way of mutual cooperation. This allows the food hubs to do business with the hospitals in a targeted and effective manner

Opportunities through mutual cooperation

The first steps in the food delivery from the hubs to the hospitals are taken cautiously, but are complicated by purchasing conditions with regard to ease of delivery, quantities, costs and delivery guarantees. Another factor is that the food hubs are relatively small companies compared to professional purchasers of the hospitals. However, there are also good opportunities for the food hubs by working together and by responding to the dietary requirements of patients.

Expected and achieved research results

In the project, the business model is developed through design science with all parties (food hubs and hospitals). The rounds in the design approach concern both discussion and development sessions and a concrete pilot to test a concept business model. The end result can also be relevant for other healthcare providers, such as nursing homes, and for other (semi)public organisations such as educational institutions and municipalities.


The eventual business model can contribute to a strengthening of the economic position of the local food hubs and the affiliated farmers, a sustainable food sourcing of hospitals and more opportunities to offer patients healthy and attractive diets. The project results will be broadened into a business plan and step-by-step plan to come to a supply of local food to (semi) public and private organisations, which can be rolled out in different regions.



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Professors & researchers