Organic food consumption during pregnancy is associated with different consumer profiles, food patterns and intake: the KOALA Birth Cohort Study

Ana Paula Simoes-Wust*, Carolina Molto-Puigmarti, Martien C. J. M. van Dongen, Pieter C. Dagnelie, Carel Thijs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Web of Science)
10 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: To find out how the consumption of organic food during pregnancy is associated with consumer characteristics, dietary patterns and macro- and micronutrient intakes.

Design: Cross-sectional description of consumer characteristics, dietary patterns and macro- and micronutrient intakes associated with consumption of organic food during pregnancy.

Setting: Healthy, pregnant women recruited to a prospective cohort study at midwives' practices in the southern part of the Netherlands; to enrich the study with participants adhering to alternative lifestyles, pregnant women were recruited through various specific channels.

Subjects: Participants who filled in questionnaires on food frequency in gestational week 34 (n 2786). Participant groups were defined based on the share of organic products within various food types.

Results: Consumers of organic food more often adhere to specific lifestyle rules, such as vegetarianism or anthroposophy, than do participants who consume conventional food only (reference group). Consumption of organic food is associated with food patterns comprising more products of vegetable origin (soya/vegetarian products, vegetables, cereal products, bread, fruits, and legumes) and fewer animal products (milk and meat), sugar and potatoes than consumed in conventional diets. These differences translate into distinct intakes of macro- and micronutrients, including higher retinol, carotene, tocopherol and folate intakes, lower intakes of vitamin D and B-12 and specific types of trans-fatty acids in the organic groups. These differences are seen even in groups with low consumption of organic food.

Conclusions: Various consumer characteristics, specific dietary patterns and types of food intake are associated with the consumption of organic food during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2134-2144
Number of pages11
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


  • Pregnant women
  • Diet, food, and nutrition
  • Organic food
  • Food intake
  • Lifestyle
  • Cohort studies
  • MILK
  • DIET

Cite this