New data on traditional foods
There has been increased interest in and demand for traditional foods, which have an important role in the diets of many Europeans and are often perceived as healthy. However, there is limited information about their composition. Traditional foods include foods that have been consumed in a region for many years, forming part of the culinary heritage of a country, but, as lifestyles change, they are at risk of disappearing.
Knowledge of these foods and their preparation is often passed down through the generations through informal means, including word of mouth. To help ensure the continued existence of traditional foods and preserve their place in each country’s culture, it is important that information about their constituents and preparation methods is documented.
EuroFIR has contributed to this goal through its Traditional Foods Work Package, which had the following objectives:
- Define the term ‘traditional’ and determine the recipes or foods to be classified under this food group
- Establish a common methodology for the systematic investigation of traditional foods across Europe
- Provide new data on the nutritional composition of traditional foods for inclusion in national food composition tables with representative raw ingredients and recipes
Information was gathered on the characteristics, nutritional composition and preparation methods of selected traditional foods in thirteen European countries. The countries studied included Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Turkey. For each country, five traditional foods were prioritised, and then prepared using a traditional recipe, traditional ingredients and traditional preparation methods. The recipe and preparation methods were documented. Samples of the traditional foods were collected and analysed using standardised procedures.
The composition data will be incorporated into national food composition databases. In addition, the project outputs have been published as a series of bi-lingual recipe cards. These provide a brief culinary history of each food or dish as well as details of its ingredients and preparation methods and nutritional composition. As well as providing documentation of the characteristics and preparation of each food, the information could be used by the food industry for the development of new products based on traditional recipes. The recipes of the examined traditional foods have been pulled together and were published in a recipe card booklet.
Publications under EuroFIR
- Traditional foods recipe cards collection. (2 MB)
- Traditional foods in Europe. Synthesis Report No 6 (1 MB)
- To download the booklet “Preparation procedures of traditional foods of the Black Sea countries” please follow this link