April 11, 2011
WASHINGTONFoods that carry organic labels are perceived as more nutritious and better tasting than conventional foods, according to new research presented April 10 at the Experimental Biology 2011 meeting.
To test the theory that a label can make people believe the food items are healthier and tastier, a Cornell University researcher surveyed more than 144 consumers and asked them to compare conventionally and organically produced potato chips, plain yogurt and chocolate sandwich cookies.
All of the products actually were organic, but labeled either "regular" or "organic." The participants were instructed to use a scale of one to nine in rating the food on taste, fat content, calories and price. They also were asked to estimate the number of calories in each food item and how much they would be willing to pay.
The findings revealed the participants preferred almost all of the taste characteristics of the organically-labeled foods, even though they were actually identical to their conventionally-labeled counterparts. The foods labeled organic" also were perceived to be significantly lower in calories and evoked a higher price tag. Foods with the organic" label were perceived as being lower in fat and higher in fiber. Overall, organically-labeled chips and cookies were considered to be more nutritious than their non-organic" counterparts.
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