Individuals who try to eat healthy have the best of intentions, but sometimes don’t know how to make the best choices.
That’s when marketing for “healthy” food products enter the picture. Food companies have learned to capitalize on consumers’ desire for fitness by marketing their products accordingly, using language such as “organic” or “heart healthy.” (Such labeling is regulated. For example, products that carry an “organic” label must get approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. )
Such marketing is based on consumer research that consumers prefer healthy options. Consider a 2011 study that indicates U.S. consumers prefer “organic” potato chips vs. regular potato chips.
The preference to eat healthy crosses borders, as indicated by a 2012 study in Thailand of 390 persons and their food consumption patterns. The study notes the increased demand for organic food, which has resulted in the growth of the organic farming sector in the country.
“Results indicated that the main reasons for purchasing organic food products are an expectation of a healthier and environmentally friendly means of production. Organic buyers tend to be older and higher educated than those who do not buy them,’’ according to the study.
Unfortunately, opting for healthy food may not be a sustainable strategy for some consumers. Research conducted in 2010 indicates that some individuals will remain hungry after eating food labeled as healthy.
“People who were given a food sample described as healthy rated they were hungrier than those who were given the same sample framed as tasty and delicious,” the authors write.
Is this due to smaller portion sizes? Perhaps, but there exists other explanations. We argue that healthy food labeling can’t make healthy food taste better than fattening food, such as a slice of apple pie a la mode. A slice of pie is completely satisfying based on taste (though it may make us feel less guilty if that pie was labeled “organic.”)
– Team D (Bobby Hangar and Rachanee Srisavasdi)