CentERdata studied the health profiles of EkoPlaza customers, a franchise of organic supermarkets. The main research question was whether EkoPlaza customers had a different health profile than the average Dutch citizen. It seems plausible on the one hand that these customers would be more concerned with healthy eating, but on the other hand it might be that people with health issues switch to organic food.
In order to answer the research question, we compared the health of the average EkoPlaza customer with the health of the average Dutch citizen. The health profile of 4000 EkoPlaza customers was analyzed via a questionnaire. The health profile of the average Dutch citizen was established with a similar questionnaire among a nationally representative sample of 5000 members of the Dutch population (in the LISS panel).
The results show that EkoPlaza customers feel considerably healthier and have a significantly lower BMI (23.3) than the average BMI of the Dutch population (25.5). EkoPlaza customers also have a healthier diet that includes more vegetables and fruit and less meat and they tend to be non-smokers. Though EkoPlaza customers appear to have fewer health issues than the average Dutch citizen, this does not mean they visit a healthcare professional less. On the contrary, EkoPlaza customers seek psychological help more often than average, and visit the dentist and alternative healthcare providers more often.
The survey showed no causal link between consuming organic food and health. The differences that were established can also be explained by the fact that EkoPlaza customers are more aware of healthy eating, or because healthy people choose organic products more often and hence go to EkoPlaza.