Carlos Ríos, dietician-nutritionist and creator of the Realfooding movement, talked to Fruit Today about the need to increase the consumption of fresh produce and the values of Fashion watermelons.
How would you define ‘realfood’ to someone who had never come across this term?
It is a lifestyle based on eating real food and avoiding ultra-processed foods. A movement that defends the right to a healthy diet for the population. A revolution that fights with knowledge and awareness against the ‘dark side’ of the food industry.
We eat 40% less fruit and vegetables than the recommended amount. What advice would you give the fruit and vegetable growing sector to turn this situation around?
I believe that fruit and vegetables require a much more aggressive marketing strategy. The ultra-processed food industry invests a great deal in advertising and, additionally, along with other factors, this is one of the means by which they manage to increase consumption the most. I think that the only way to “compete” is for the sector to carry out actions in the same way but, obviously, supported by Government through health prevention campaigns.
One of the best-known brand cases is that of Fashion Watermelons. What is your opinion of this brand? Do you think it could be a good idea to popularise brands to boost fruit and vegetable consumption?
It seems to be a good brand that is concerned about offering a quality product, in addition to investing in advertising it. These types of actions are the ones that manage to make more people aware, encouraging fruit and vegetable consumption and therefore, making the different fruit and vegetable brands take the step to advertising their produce more.
We are at the height of the watermelon season. As an expert in nutrition, which aspects of this fruit would you emphasise to give it more value for consumers?
Well, in addition to its sweet, refreshing flavour, it is worth highlighting its satiating power due to its water content, the vitamin and mineral content such as vitamin C or potassium, the latter being important for regulating blood pressure, or antioxidants such as lycopene or citrulin that lower oxidative stress and decrease muscle fatigue for sports players.
The memes and terms such as ‘Matrix’, ‘cult and ‘Star Wars’ bring the brand closer to the millenials, but there are also those who call it ‘radical’ due to the terminology used. What would you say to their detractors?
In the end, there will always be people for and people against you. My job is to wake people up, to give them knowledge and help them to use it to look after their health, as nobody else is going to worry about it. While I continue to fulfill this objective, I will be happy.
Your book ‘Come comida real’ (Eat real food) has been a bestseller on Amazon’s sales lists. Could we say that there is hope for fruit and vegetable consumption?
Of course. If I didn’t think there was any hope, I wouldn’t have started this movement. More and more people are becoming aware, the pressure that they have as consumers is growing and little by little this will lead to change.