'Organic' Label Seems to Make Food Taste Better 04/11/11
SUNDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- An "organic" label on foods
is enough to make people believe the food items are healthier and
tastier, new research suggests.
The study included 144 volunteers who were asked to compare what
they believed were conventionally and organically produced
chocolate sandwich cookies, plain yogurt and potato chips. All of
the products were actually organic, but they were labeled as either
"regular" or "organic."
The participants used a scale of 1 to 9 to rate each of the
products on 10 attributes, such as overall taste and perception of
fat content. They were also asked to estimate the number of
calories in each food item and how much they would be willing to
pay for each product.
The investigators found that participants preferred almost all
of the taste characteristics of the foods labeled as "organic,"
even though they were identical to those labeled as "regular."
The food items with "organic" labels were also perceived as
being lower in fat, higher in fiber, significantly lower in
calories and worth more money, according to study author Jenny
Wan-chen Lee, a graduate student in Cornell University's Dyson
School of Applied Economics and Management.
In addition, chips and cookies labeled "organic" were judged to
be more nutritious than those believed to be non-organic.
Lee conducted the study to test the theory that people are
influenced by what is described as "the halo effect," according to
background information in a news release from the Federation of
American Societies for Experimental Biology. In this case, the
researchers set out to see if the "health halo" -- the perception
that an item that is labeled "organic" is therefore nutritious --
would lead people to believe that the "organic" foods tasted
The study was slated for presentation Sunday at the Experimental
Biology annual meeting, in Washington, D.C., of the American
Society for Nutrition.
Because this research was presented at a medical meeting, the
data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until
published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The American Academy of Family Physicians offers
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