People Think Organic Food Tastes Better Even If the Label Is Fake

A new study shows that labels can fool us into believing ethically raised food tastes better


It seems that our ethical standards have an impact on our taste buds.

If it weren’t for the fact that organic food is more expensive, would you automatically gravitate toward organically grown or raised food products? Researchers say yes. A new study from the University of Brussels and Oxford University found that when people were given a selection of identical chocolates, breakfast biscuits, and apple juices with different labels, they preferred the taste of the items that were purported to be organic.

Survey participants who indicated that ethically eating is important to them overwhelmingly preferred the food labeled organic, despite the fact that all of the food tasted exactly the same.

The results, according to head researcher Dr. Boyka Bratanova, indicated a "possible reward mechanism reinforcing the purchase of ethical food,” and were consistent with other psychological findings.

The researchers hypothesized that the overwhelming preference for falsely labeled organic food was the result of a “halo effect” around the supposedly ethical food, as well as the neurological effect of the reward system.  

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