Culinary fads come and go throughout the years, but few have gained clout as steadily as Organic foods have.

Almost everyone can agree that producing and treating our food as naturally as possible is a desirable goal that will lead to healthier consumers, but surprisingly little has been done to scientifically evaluate this albeit intuitive hypothesis. France’s National Research Agency (Agence Nationale de la Recherche) is making such a study possible by providing funding for a program called BioNutrinet, a specific subset of a more holistic NutriNet-Santé study set to focus on the myriad questions surrounding Organic food products.

©Pascal Xicluna/Min.Agri.Fr

©Pascal Xicluna/Min.Agri.Fr

What is the overarching goal of BioNutrinet?

Researchers have three main goals hopes for the BioNutrinet study. On one hand, they seek to better understand the demographic that is most interested in organic food, including but not limited to the socioeconomic and psychological background of its constituents. On the other hand, they are trying to discern the primary reasons for which people choose to go organic as well as whether or not strict organic consumption results in measurable benefits for individuals and the environment. Concrete answers to these hereto hypothetical questions would have vast implications for changes in public policy in France and around the world.

What makes this BioNutrinet endeavor so unique?

The BioNutrinet study is the first of its kind with regard to both its size and methodology. Over the course of four years, 100,000 online volunteers will report information about their food consumption and physical well-being in a consistent manner. Half of these participants identifies as organic eaters and half as non-organic, which will serve as a basis of comparison for food quality and physical health. Furthermore, 300 of these 100,000 volunteers will be systematically examined by qualified professionals in order to gauge levels of overall nutrition and toxicity in the body. These medical analyses performed on the 300 volunteers are by nature more reliable than is self-reporting and will hopefully mirror the results obtained by the rest of the participants on a larger scale.

©Pascal Xicluna/Min.Agri.Fr

©Pascal Xicluna/Min.Agri.Fr

A strong scientific basis

Thanks to almost 700,000 euros of funding from the Sustainable Food Systems Program of France’s National Research Agency, multiple reputable organizations such as the French agricultural research institute and the French health and medical research institute have teamed up to recruit the aid of certified professionals for this specific study. Epidemiologists, nutritionists, biologists, economists and agronomists alike will be collaborating to collect, interpret and eventually publish all data through methodologically sound processes. The results will be made public in four years’ time

To learn more:

NutriNet-Sante study website