About us

Vision

Questionmark strives for a world in which people live healthy lives, on a healthy planet, with respect for all people and animals.

Mission

Questionmark contributes to changing the food system by pushing towards a market that is focused on healthy, sustainable and ethical. A market in which companies compete on these qualitative values and take responsibility for the influence they have on what consumers buy and consume. A market in which consumers, thanks to transparency around products and a healthy food environment, buy products that fit their personal values. A market that is actively facilitated by the government.  

Motive

The current food system is not future-proof. For decades, we have seen an increase in lifestyle-related diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease; global warming and the decline of biodiversity; growing income inequality and human rights violations; unethical treatment of animals on an industrial scale. The causes behind these trends are the one-sided focus on profit and growth among companies and the false idea that consumer demand determines supply in the market. 

Strategy

Questionmark stimulates the market by conducting and publishing research. Our work encourages companies to compete on health and sustainability, consumers to make well-informed choices and the government to create policies that facilitate these new market forces.

Our activities have three pillars:

  1. We develop our own software that allows us to collect and analyze data on food products. In our database we keep and monitor all food products that are sold in supermarkets and the weekly offers of these supermarkets.
  2. We take the initiative to do independent research and publish this in the form of rankings of products and supermarkets. The results of our work are used by companies, NGOs, journalists, politicians and consumers.
  3. We provide tailor-made data analytics for NGOs, food producers, supermarkets and the government - who use this data in line with our objectives.

Our values

Our work is always scientific, based on data and constructive. Our own initiatives are also pioneering, value-driven and independent.

Independency

Questionmark is an independent foundation. We guarantee our independence through our governance, our revenues and our integrity policies. Accountability for governance and finances can be found in the annual reports .

Revenue

Questionmark's income consists mainly of donations from charitable funds and ad hoc grants from the government.  A minority of the revenue comes from the sale of surveys and data. Thanks to this distribution of income, Questionmark is free to execute the main part of its activities on its own initiative and under its own name.

'On-demand research' is only done by Questionmark for certain non-profit organizations, such as governments, universities and civil society organizations.

Food producers and supermarkets can use Questionmark's data through its subsidiary, QMintelligence. Through a contractual agreement, they will then have access to the database containing all product information collected by Questionmark. Making this data accessible to supermarkets and producers is part of Questionmark's mission, as it enables these companies to improve their products and/or assortment to more sustainable and healthy. The data is also publicly accessible via the website of Questionmark.

Contact us for more information via info@thequestionmark.org

Integrity policy

The quality and reliability of Questionmark's work, is – in addition to the independence of various sources of income - also secured by the integrity of our employees. Questionmark trusts its employees and assumes that they act with integrity when doing research. We have a strict integrity policy in order to eliminate opportunities for conflicts of interest and averse incentives as much as possible. Read our integrity policy here (in Dutch).

Impact

We monitor the impact we have on producers - including farmers and factories - adjusting their supply chains and reformulating their products, supermarkets changing their assortments and marketing, companies in general becoming more transparent in their communication on health and sustainability, and certification schemes lifting their standards. Read more in our impact stories.

Organisation and board

Questionmark is independent and politically impartial. Questionmark decides independently how to apply its research methodology and which companies and products to include. This means that donors, partner organizations, public authorities and other interested parties have no influence whatsoever on our research and product scores. In addition, our public annual report presents all our sources of funding and details of our spending. Questionmark’s subsidiary QM intelligence has the exclusive right to use the Questionmark database. Questionmark is not a quality certificate and does not issue any such certification.

Questionmark has a statutory board. The board appoints the directors and decides on the strategy of Questionmark, which is carried out by the team. Besides this, Questionmark has a scientific advisory board that advises on the research methodology and execution.

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