Global Marketing

When all else fails, choose “organic” potato chips

Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 9.14.28 AMIndividuals 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)


2 replies on “When all else fails, choose “organic” potato chips”

Great read.
This topic is really interesting to me… this whole health craze is on the surface a good thing but we are so ignorant about fitness and healthy eating that Marketing owns us and we believe whatever we see on TV and read about in magazines.
There is so much money to be made in this area from clueless individuals that its incredible to me. I see a business opportunity here people. I know very little about nutrition and fitness but I sure know how to sell a product that claims to fix all that and more….

Organic has been a buzz word for quite some time now and I think it continues to grow in recognition. Unfortunately consumers are not well informed when it comes to where they should spend their dollars for organic and where being organic doesn’t really add any value. It’s difficult to find objective science as it relates to ‘healthy food’ amongst all the marketing hype.

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