January 7, 2017
Price Influences Healthy vs Unhealthy Food
Now that 2017 is here, many people will be patrolling the aisles of grocery stores in search of healthful foods to assist them in losing weight. Hopefully this post will give you something to think about in your search for healthful foods and how to stay away from junk foods claiming to be healthy.
This is something I have already done and this study just confirms my actions. I always do several things when I shop with my wife and I sometimes irritate her in doing so, but after we read the nutritional label and the ingredients section, we often agree what to leave on the shelf and the items we will eat that are healthy. Often the price is best on those we select and the higher priced products remain on the shelf.
Study co-author Rebecca Reczek, from the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University, and colleagues found that people often perceive healthful foods to be more expensive, despite there being no evidence to support this view.
The team found that consumers make food choices based on this belief, and the price of foods may also influence how important we perceive certain health conditions to be.
Reczek and colleagues came to their findings - published in the Journal of Consumer Research - by conducting five experiments on different groups of participants.
The aim of the study was to get a better understanding of "lay theories" in relation to the cost of healthful foods. In simple terms, lay theories are ideologies that people use to make sense of their social environment.
One common lay theory is that healthful foods are more expensive than less healthful foods. The researchers point to one example of this popular theory - the nickname given to the health foods store Whole Foods, which is "Whole Paycheck."
While there are certain types of health foods that are more expensive - such as organic and gluten-free products - Reczek notes that it does not always cost more to eat healthily.
All in all, Reczek and team believe that their results are a worry for consumers.
"It's concerning. The findings suggest that price of food alone can impact our perceptions of what is healthy and even what health issues we should be concerned about."
However, the researchers suggest that by being aware of the common misconception that healthful foods are always more expensive and by using "objective evidence" to assess food products, we can overcome this lay theory.
"It makes it easier for us when we're shopping to use this lay theory, and just assume we're getting something healthier when we pay more. But we don't have to be led astray," says Reczek. "We can compare nutrition labels and we can do research before we go to the grocery store. We can use facts rather than our intuition."
Please read the full article here for facts that were part of the study.