Endrick Leon, Master Thesis research project
In order to finalize my studies, I am conducting my Master Thesis research project with Snackbar van de Toekomst. Snackbar van de Toekomst has a vision to make an impact on society. Therefore, I am grateful to be able to bring a small part into this shift towards sustainable food development

Endrick, could you please introduce yourself?

I’m Endrick, originally I am from Aruba, but have been living in the Europe for the past 5 years. Currently, I am a MSc of Business Studies student at Hanze University of Applied Sciences. For my Master Thesis, I am conducting a research project commissioned by Snackbar van de Toekomst.

 

What do you do in everyday life? What are your interests? What hobbies do you have?

As a person, I enjoy being social and live an active lifestyle where I keep myself busy. During Corona times it is more difficult to do so, however I find creative ways to still live a social lifestyle, such a Zoom Parties. Additionally, I am a plant dad, which I am proud owner of 55 different plants. They bring a pleasant atmosphere and instantly enhances my mood, especially now seeing we are often inside. Furthermore, I am the President of Rotaract Club of Groningen International. An international social organization which focuses on personal development, fellowship, networking and community service. This is a way in which I find myself connecting with other people, while making an impact in society.

 

What is your connection with Snackbar of the Future?

In order to finalize my studies, I am conducting my Master Thesis research project with Snackbar van de Toekomst. Snackbar van de Toekomst has a vision to make an impact on society. Therefore, I am grateful to be able to bring a small part into this shift towards sustainable food development.

 

You are carrying out an assignment for school. What does this assignment entail and what do you want to achieve with the results?

The objective of this research is to explore how to develop strategies to effectively educate costumers, and communicate tailor-made sustainable snacks and to identify the attitude and behaviours towards sustainable food of the people of North of the Netherlands, specifically young adults in the region of Oldambt municipality. This is in order to develop sustainable snacks, in connection with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The results of this research will be primarily used to create a communication strategy and develop sustainable products which cater the needs of the target group. Thus, a “ strategic toolbox” on what is necessary in their eating habits and food trends, in order to tailor-made sustainable snacks for the area of Oldambt, also with the contribution to society by connecting the snacks with the SDGs.

Not only I hope that we achieve results for the company to develop and introduce sustainable snacks to the market, but also that I can contribute to Snackbar van de Toekomst to develop a global shift in the sustainable food industry. This will allow to steer the path to reach the SDGs set by the United Nations in 2030. In order to reach the global SDGs, it is of high importance to experiment first with local start-ups, such as Snackbar van de Toekomst. This allows for divers start-up experiments to be applied on a well balanced, global scale in the future.

 

How are you working with Snackbar van de Toekomst?

From the start of the first meeting, I was impressed by Marco’s passion for sustainable snacks, and making an impact in his surroundings. This instantly drew me to his ideas, and became connected to the topic. I believed I can also help Marco to bring his ideas to reality by contributing with my knowledge, and research project. This enables us to work in a good working relation. We have bi-weekly calls in which we discuss the project, as well as the progress and processes, in which I keep Marco connected to the project. At the same time, I use our calls as a reminder to the passion of Marco, which drew me to the project in the first place, as a motivator for me to conduct this research project. All in all, I am delighted with being allowed to conducted this research project for the Snackbar van de Toekomst.


Before you started. What did you hope to learn during the internship?

Prior to starting my research project, I was interested to delve more into the snack world, and how this can be more sustainable. Additionally, this research project was focused on a specific region, Oldambt. Thus, I had an image of how the attitudes and behaviours of the people of Oldambt municipality were. However, wanted to find out and justify if what I had in my thoughts are what they think as well. To do so, primary research had to be done. Therefore, I conducted a set of interview and distributed an online questionnaire regarding the mind-set towards sustainable snack of the people of Oldambt municipality, in connection with SDGs

 

During the internship: what went differently than you expected. What brought a surprise?

When I started the research project in late summer 2020, the Covid-cases were not that high. Therefore, I has expected to be able to conduct primary research in person. However, this was not the case, as the Covid-cases continued to increase with each month. Therefore, all of my research had to be conducted online. Which was a pity, as I wanted to go into the field/Oldambt and talk to them directly there. However, this was not possible, but it was not an issue either, as the cooperation to have interviews online went well.

Regarding the research results, I was expecting a more negative outlook towards sustainability on snacks. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Although sustainability is currently not a major factor in the target group’s life, there is a high willingness to support sustainable snacks, in connection with SDGs. Which is good news, as this would allow Marco to further implement sustainable snacks in this region

 

Looking back on the internship: what did you mainly learn. What did you think was a strong point of Marco’s guidance and what recommendation do you want to give Marco?

The primary research indicated aspect of the target group’s attitude towards food are a combination of traditions, taste and the pricing of food products. Even though, previous research show being healthy and sustainable are not part of their life goals, a majority has expressed their concern regarding the lack of sustainability in the shops. Moreover, a majority believes food products should be more sustainable, and would increase purchase of these, in order to support SDGS. In regards to communication, it has been suggested to develop a strategic plan consisting of five steps, which is interactive, as the people of Oldambt would then be more interested in the product, as well as give feedback in order to create further sustainable snacks, which they would purchase. Moreover, the SDGs which are believed to be relevant to the Oldambt region are 3,13 and 15, next to 1,2,8,11 and 12.

I believe Marco’s strong point is his passion. Throughout my whole semester working on my Master Thesis, the passion Marco has to make change in the world with sustainability is truly inspiring. This also then allowed me to stay motivated and delve deeper into the topic.

Moreover, together with Marco we have kept regular contact throughout the semester in which we would email, call or text each other with updates on how the research project is progressing, and ask each other question to clarify certain aspects. This allowed for a very close collaboration and an easy flow of information. I think this is an important factor for future students working together with the Snackbar van de Toekomst. Besides that, Marco also was always challenging my reasoning and thoughts on the project. I am sure this allowed me to raise the quality of my research project.

All in all, Marco is an inspiring commissioner to work with, which allows you to explore on your own ideas, and be of help whenever necessary. I do not have a fixing point for Marco, as our collaboration went smoothly and it was a pleasure to work with him.