A new study from Cornell University graduate student Jenny Wan-chen Lee [pdf] either shows that the label “organic” creates some sort of placebo effect in which people are convinced they’re eating healthier, or that people can be really stupid. Maybe it’s a little of both? In her study, 144 volunteers were asked to compare “organic” and “regular” samples of yogurt, cookies and potato chips, rating them on taste, estimated fat content and estimated calorie content. However, all of the samples were in fact “organic.” Take a wild guess what happened.
Volunteers almost unanimously preferred the taste of the perceived “organic” samples, which they believed to be more nutritious and worth more money. And these perceptions were consistent across all the samples.