Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

People Who Buy Organic Foods are Meaner

By Magdeline Lum

Does buying organic food make you more judgemental, and why is it better to fart on a plane than hold it in?

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

The beginning of a new year heralds resolutions and goals of self-improvement. These are often centred on improving health, and one method is to eat healthier accompanied with an exercise regime. Everyone would agree that eating healthy food leads to improvement in well-being, and some advise eating organic foods.

Organic foods are often products that boast ethical and environmentally friendly practices. A/Prof Kendall Eskine of Loyola University asserts that these claims are coupled with moral terms like Honest Tea, Purity Life, and Smart Balance, and has found that people who eat organic food can make people more judgmental and less altruistic than those who do not.

Volunteers in the study were told that they were part of two unrelated studies, one being a consumer research study on food desirability and the other being a moral judgment task. The participants were divided into three different groups. One group was shown pictures of food explicitly labelled as organic, including apples and spinach, and another group was shown pictures of comfort food like brownies and cookies. The third group was the control group shown foods that were neither organic nor comfort food.

The volunteers ranked the foods according to their desirability and were then asked to pass judgment on a variety of moral transgressions. Situations included a politician accepting...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.