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Health insurer Zilveren Kruis partners with sidewalk cafes to put sunscreen on their menus

Sun-starved for much of the year, Dutch people flock to outdoor cafes as soon as the rays break through the clouds. Stopping for an al fresco lunch or a drink on a sunny town square is often spontaneous, leaving many unprepared and without sunscreen. Recognizing this, health insurer Zilveren Kruis has launched a campaign to combat skin cancer, the country’s fastest-growing type. By partnering with restaurants and bars, the insurer is getting sunscreen on the menu — literally.

Participating businesses can purchase mineral sunscreen at cost price through Zilveren Kruis’ partnership with sun protection brand Tenue de Soleil. When ordering a drink, customers can add a ‘shot’ of sunscreen if they forgot to apply earlier or need to reapply while enjoying their time outdoors. Zilveren Kruis suggests a resale price of EUR 2.99 for a 30 ml tube, but businesses can also charge less or offer the sunscreen for free. Each bulk purchase includes stickers with details and price, making it easy to add sunscreen to existing menus.

One in five Dutch people is expected to be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime. So sun protection needs to become as routine as ordering coffee or a glass of wine. By integrating sun safety into everyday activities, Zilveren Kruis hopes to shift public behavior and reduce the incidence of skin cancer. The initiative builds on a recurring summer campaign by the insurer, installing over 120 free sunscreen stations at beaches, amusement parks, festivals and other seasonal gathering spots across the Netherlands.

Trend bite

Zilveren Kruis identified a common phenomenon — people forgetting to protect their skin during impromptu outings — and leveraged settings and routines to devise a solution. The insurer is tapping into social proof, too: seeing sunscreen on a menu and watching people order it could spur other patrons to do the same, creating a virtuous cycle of sun-savvy behavior. Which is particularly relevant as misinformation about tanning and sunscreens proliferates on TikTok and other platforms.

Of course, there are opportunities beyond sunscreen for intertwining wellness with social settings and rituals. How could your brand remove the friction that prevents people from making smarter choices? Which interventions could you offer that naturally fit their habits and lifestyles? No to sermons and yes to delight — the most effective solutions will likely make healthy options feel like a bonus, not a tradeoff.