Does organic food really taste better?
Organic and Fairtrade food is a must for many people these days. Not only is the produce ethically sourced and free of chemicals, but it also tastes so much fresher, right? Well, it might indeed be the morally sound way to do your food shop, but new research claims that superior flavour is all in your mind.
In fact, the Abertay University in Dundee found that conscious consumers are tricked into believing the taste is better because the “moral satisfaction” they get from knowing they are doing good is so powerful.
Flavour tests were carried out, in which supporters of ethically-produced food where asked to rate samples of produce and vote for their favourite. Despite being identical products, they picked the one labelled ‘ethically produced’ as the better tasting option.
While there is evidence organic food (which is produced by natural methods, doesn’t use chemicals and employs high animal welfare standards) has health benefits in the form of high antioxidant and vitamin levels, there is no proof it tastes better. However, supporters of organic produce still often claim it does.
The researchers believe that by feeling good and tricking themselves into thinking they are getting a superior flavour, people feel rewarded enough to keep buying the product despite its higher price.
As long as you care about the way your food is sourced, your “moral satisfaction” will kick in and make your taste buds tingle.
Dr Boyka Bratanova, who led the study, said: “If they don’t value the reasons behind Fairtrade or organic food production then they will not experience the moral satisfaction effect.
“However, if you are interested in animals being raised humanely or farms being run on organic principles, then it seems you are able to gain even more enjoyment from eating that ethical food.”
But don’t let that put you off! Organic and Fairtrade food ensures everyone involved is getting a good deal and whether it’s in your head or not: it’s all in good taste.