As a designer with an affection for sports and healthy nutrition, Naomi Jansen wanted to present a positive message about nutritious food, without harping on about what’s allowed and not allowed. As part of her graduate research, she studied pregnant women. “They are an interesting target group who want to enjoy food and even have cravings sometimes, but at the same time, they are very aware that they need to eat healthily.” As a result, in 2016 she launched Chocobombes, bonbons specifically for pregnant women. “It’s both a gift and a good way to start a conversation about healthy food.”
Enjoying food and learning about important nutrients
“During pregnancy, women are mostly warned about what they shouldn’t eat. Whereas this is a period during which most women are hungry for the strangest things: from a gherkin with whipped cream, to chocolate, to anything deep-fried. I thought it would be interesting to turn the message around. Like, how can you steer the conversation towards food that is good for the baby’s development? That’s how I came up with the idea of bonbons with a message. On the one hand you get to enjoy bonbons, on the other hand the bonbons tell a story about important nutrients and ingredients which you need when you’re expecting.”
Thanks to the dieticians at Maxima Medical Centre in the south of the Netherlands, Jansen learned all about nutrition in the three trimesters of pregnancy. “For example, vitamin C is really important during the first few months, as it aids the absorption of folic acid. That’s why the bonbon box for the first trimester includes a bonbon containing a combination of orange and spinach. In addition, it’s also important to get enough healthy fats and vitamin D, which is where the salmon and avocado flavour came from.” Because Jansen wanted to ensure the bonbons would keep for longer than just a few days – “or that it would taste like taking a bite of salmon” – she uses freeze-dry technology. This removes the liquid content from a fresh ingredient, creating powder. This powder can be preserved for longer while maintaining nutritional value, colour and flavour.
Not for reasons of health, but rather to raise awareness
“Of course, the bonbons themselves are not healthy. I’m very clear about that. It’s just something to enjoy during your pregnancy. I mean, it’s not by chance that I only put three in each box,” says Naomi with a laugh. “The idea isn’t that a pregnant woman experiencing a craving can scoff down ten bonbons. It’s about the underlying concept. While savouring them consciously, you also learn about essential nutrients and ingredients, which is knowledge you can then apply in your everyday diet.” In fact, the disclaimer clearly states that the bonbons are not healthy. “I complied completely with the Dutch Dietary Centre’s regulations. The product is not healthy, but it provides information about healthy eating. That’s a very important nuance.”
Bonbons better quality sleep
This past year has given Chocobombes a real boost. “Sales clearly increased during the first Covid peak. People can’t visit each other, so it’s nice to send a gift which also has a healthy message. Take good care of yourself.” The Covid pandemic has also inspired Jansen to develop a new bonbon. “I noticed that the long lockdown was causing some people to become anxious, stressed and unable to relax. This prompted me to get in touch with a sleep researcher. Through this collaboration I learned more about how diet can improve the quality of your sleep. We have included ingredients like almonds, bananas and lavender in our ‘sleep well’ bonbons. They’re not solely designed for pregnant women, but they’re perfect for after the birth of your child, when the baby is regularly waking you up at night.”
“Through my Chocobombes and in collaboration with De Voedselapotheek design agency, I make the connection between diet and health. Because the right diet and a healthy lifestyle really make you feel better.”
Chocobombes & Pastryclub
Jansen developed Chocobombes together with design patissier Jurgen Koens. Taste Tomorrow spoke with Koens in 2017 when he had just opened his first patisserie business, Pastryclub, where he only uses high quality ingredients and prepares everything in full view of customers. We visited him again this year. You can read in this new interview with design patissier Jurgen Koens how he’s faring and how Pastryclub has coped in these extraordinary times.
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