Study Shows People Who Buy and Eat Organic Are Perceived as “Better!”

Recently the Journal Appetite published a great research study to

determine what people perceived about those who ate organic food. In fact, the question was,  “When trying to describe someone, people generally use characteristics of that person. For example, if you describe someone who always gets good marks, you might say that this person is smart, serious, and bookish. Now, if we would ask you to describe a 35-year-old woman (vs. man) who very often (vs. very rarely) buys and eats organic food products, which characteristics would you use?“.

There were 23 specific characteristics ranked by study participants about people who frequently eat organic foods. Basically if a person is eating organic food then people think or perceive more positively of that person. Naturally, that person who eats organic food is considered to be more environmentally conscious than someone who eats organic foods only rarely or not at all, but there is an important twist!

The interesting thing is that this person who eats organic food is also seen as more health conscious, more attractive, more in shape, more feminine, less masculine, less inactive, less overweight, sportier, slimmer, and healthier. They were also seen as more educated, intelligent, and wealthier. And, finally they were judged as more considerate, curious, respectful, sensitive, thorough and less lazy. Women who ate organic food frequently were seen as more feminine and less masculine than men. All of these are perceived traits for anyone who eats organic foods, not actual observed traits. What is the saying, “perception is everything?”

What is the takeaway from this study? First, be sure to let people know you are eating organic so they might actually think better of you! Second, we know that eating organic is healthier, but look at all the other wonderful things people could think about you just by eating organic. I think I like the sportier, more intelligent and wealthier – now if they were only true!

Author: Bob Whitney, Regents Fellow & Extension Organic Specialist

Agriculturalist, extension educator and researcher, organic agriculture enthusiast and promoter, international program developer, Christian, husband, father and friend.

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