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Infographic: Do we care about the origin of our food?

Elementar specialises in determining the true origin of food by exploring its unique isotope signature. We know there is high demand for such information through our work with industry specialists and academic researchers, but also wished to decipher whether there is similar demand among the general public. We therefore asked: “Do people care about the origin of their food?”

Our survey of more than 800 people found that both the origin of food and the accuracy of food labelling are indeed very important to today’s consumers. We found that an overwhelming 84% of shoppers check where their food comes from either ‘all’, ‘most’ or ‘some’ of the time, with two-thirds (66%) either ‘very’ or ‘quite’ concerned about the origin of their food. More than two-thirds (68%) said that the origin of products is either ‘very’ or ‘quite’ important in influencing their buying decisions.

We have collated our findings in the infographic below. The infographic highlights both the importance of knowing the true origin of a food product and the importance of correct product labelling. It also provides information on how at Elementar we use stable isotope analysis to trace the true origins of a wide range of products, including fruits, vegetables, meats and wines.

Infographic Food Origin and Stable Isotope Analysis

Fighting against food fraud

As the supply chains that deliver food stuffs to our doors grow ever more complex, it becomes more difficult to ensure that we can trust those foods. The most recently revealed cases of food fraud, published in a press release by Europol from April 25th 2017, show the extent of criminal activities in the food sector: 9 800 tonnes, over 26.4 million litres, and 13 million units/items were seized during the operation “OPSON VI”, a joint Europol-INTERPOL operation targeting counterfeit and substandard food and drink in 61 countries.

The operation revealed numerous offenses, for example the production and distribution of fake wine in Italy. In this case, the inferior product was sold as a famous and protected red wine (Protected geographical indication of origin). In Denmark, analyses of virgin olive oils revealed several cases of adulteration, in which the product was blended.

This alarming news explain why consumers are getting more and more worried about food origin and food quality. We at Elementar have more than one solution to monitor food quality: On the one hand, there is the N-protein analysis which determines the protein content of the sample. This value gives an indication on the quality and thus the price of many products. Our “exceed” products lead the technology and the market.

On the other hand, there is stable isotope analysis, which is a technique that can be used to determine the true origin of a food or drink product and to verify its authenticity. This helps to highlight adulteration and any mislabeling of premium or protected foods, and works by evaluating the unique isotope ratio of a foodstuff to determine its origin. Stable isotope analysis with our isoprime visION and isoprime precisION products can therefore play an important role in ensuring consumers are able to trust the food they eat and, essentially, helps to guarantee the public’s safety.


Further readingItalian or Greek? BiovisION ad