‘Organic halo effect’: Consumers underestimate calories in organic foods, studies claim

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Credit: Kris Tan/Shutterstock

According to the results of a new French study, it’s likely that similar foods will contain similar nutritional content, regardless of whether it is an organic product or not.

The research, led by University Paris Nanterre, investigated a concept called ‘the halo effect’ and its presence, hovering around organic food products….

The study says that people may be swayed into buying organic foods because of this halo effect: an inaccurate assumption that all organic foods will contain a lower amount of calories than regular, non-organic food, just because the packaging carries an ‘organic’ label.

The paper….describes the outcome of two tests. The first saw 151 French psychology undergraduate students complete an online study rating the nutritional value of a regular cookie and a cookie made from organic flour and sugar. The majority of participants assumed the organic cookie had fewer calories even though the two products had the same amount of calories.

Related article:  Viewpoint: 70% of consumers say 'natural' food is healthier, but there's no science behind the marketing hype

In the second study, 269 people from the French community completed an online study comparing the calorie content of organic and non-organic cookie brands, while indicating their willingness to pay for the organic product.

Read full, original article: Eating ‘organic’ doesn’t automatically make it good for you

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