Nutrient Density as the "true" label of food quality

by Franziska Matt
Dan Kittredge, founder of the NGO Bionutrient Food Association” (BFA), has a mission called “biological vitality”. Plants which are rich in nutrients maximize production, have a health-promoting impact and strengthen the body’s immuno-resistance against illnesses and harmful environmental influences.

"I think it’s safe to say that if Dan and the team at the Bio Nutrient Food Association get it right, they will change the entire food and

agriculture sector for the better." -- Koen van Seijen

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Who benefits?

Kittredge expects an added value for the entire food industry and the agricultural system. From the field throughout the entire food supply chain to the end-consumers, his idea represents a healthy kaleidoscope for plants, crops, soil as well as humans.

Inefficient production, intense costs

Sick plants drive up production costs. When plants are sick, they bear less product, and the farmer’s balance sheet will likewise fail to be fruitful. Only when the soil is rich and healthy can a farmer expect year-over-year positive output from the real workers on a farm (the plants). In short: soil is the source of nutrients for crops. The consequence of a soil’s nutritional richness is a fertile, efficient and healthy harvest.

 

With proper attention paid to soil health and nutrient levels, farmers can provide end-consumers a grand slam: increased physical vitality and a reduced price tag at market. A plant’s well-being benefits the entire ecological system (and everybody’s pocketbooks!).

Sick plants drive up production costs. When plants are sick, they bear less product, and the farmer’s balance sheet will likewise fail to be fruitful. Only when the soil is rich and healthy can a farmer expect year-over-year positive output from the real workers on a farm (the plants). In short: soil is the source of nutrients for crops. The consequence of a soil’s nutritional richness is a fertile, efficient and healthy harvest.

 

With proper attention paid to soil health and nutrient levels, farmers can provide end-consumers a grand slam: increased physical vitality and a reduced price tag at market. A plant’s well-being benefits the entire ecological system (and everybody’s pocketbooks!).

Stable nutrient density as a mission

It is commonly understood that nutrient density varies from fruit to fruit to the same extent that vitality differs among humans. However, to date, there exists very little scientific investigation into exactly how much nutrient density varies. As a result, Dan Kittredge aims to thoroughly investigate the topic of variations of nutritional density.

 

In his role as the founder of BFA, he cooperates with open-source-science partners such as Our-Sci and FarmOS in their Real Food Campaign (RFC). The campaign’s goal is to develop a new tool called the “Bionutrient Meter”.

Swiss Chard

Chard is has relatively high nutrient density, but not all chard you select at the market has the same nutrient density.

The tool: Bionutrient Meter

Bionutrient Meter from Bionutrient.org.j

The first-gen Bionutrient Meter (photo from Bionutrient.org)

The Bionutrient Meter can measure nutritional quality of foods in real-time via a smartphone app.

 

Here’s how it works:

  1. The light spectrum of a piece of food, such as an apple, is analyzed with the help of spectroscopy (spectroscopy uses light wavelengths to determine the exact composition of a substance)

  2. After scanning an apple, for example, a shopper can see what’s inside that apple on a molecular level.

  3. This information is then translated into the apple’s nutrient density (proteins, carbohydrates, hormones, peptides, lipids etc.).

 

Such an analysis can, in theory, be performed to determine the nutritional quality of whatever various groceries a person would like to buy, from blueberries to coffee to a chocolate bar (taken out of its wrapper, of course).

Transparency along the supply chain

Both transparency and deep understanding are paramount for a leverage effect to take place, empowering a shift in societal awareness. The bionutrient meter shall be pushed out to the entire supply chain, including farmers, suppliers, retailers and consumers. Kittredge believes that everybody should be able to experience and understand the variation of nutrient density. He also thinks we should recognize when we pick up an apple that we can most certainly do better. And we should expect better.

 

For Dan Kittredge it is paramount that life is kept free from genetic engineering, chemical fertilizers, and mass production. Because, in his own words: “There is no way to ensure quality and destroy life at the same time.”

Bionutrient Meter Measuring Bionutrients

The first-gen Bionutrient Meter shown here - it can be used virtually everywhere along the fruit and vegetable supply chain (photo from Bionutrient.org, owner of hand unknown to author)

A relief for the medical industry?

The market entry of such a tool comes with a vital change for everybody. This certainly includes both the pharmaceutical and medical industries. Higher nutrient intake inherently means a reduction of illnesses – for plants as well as humans. Not only does increased nutrient intake heal, but it also prevents illnesses. Won’t our pharma-friends be excited about that!

"It is a paradigm shift, a total change of perspective."

-- Dan Kittredge

This year’s BFA projects are planned in tight cooperation with ecofairbau and quality-assurance provider BRUNO (a BFA initiative).

>> additional information on the purpose of the campaign can be accessed here: