The secret ingredient is moral superiority. Mmmmm … delicious moral superiority …
Admit it: You get a little smug smile on your face after buying something that claims to be fair trade, sustainably farmed, and organically sourced. We all do. You're making the world a better place, one purchased cup of coffee at a time. And damn if it doesn't just taste better too, right? Well, as it turns out, we're complete idiots.
New studies have come out proving that not only do we not actually know what "organic" even means, but we sure as hell want it anyway. And when we get it, we're absolutely convinced that it tastes better … when, really, it's the same old crap we'd been eating the whole time.
A recent study of 4,000 people across eight countries showed that a food's ethical origins can give birth to moral superiority, which in turn can upgrade the experience and perception of taste nearly every time.
Participants were presented with a selection of items, such as apple juices, breakfast biscuits, and chocolates. The foods presented were identical, but some were labeled as ethically produced while others were not. For people who had reported that eating ethically is important to them, they not only preferred the mislabeled food, they also thought it tasted better.
Lead author Dr. Boyka Bratanova writes that this creates a "possible reward mechanism reinforcing the purchase of ethical food." At first, people would just select organic or fair-trade food because of their ethical beliefs. But if the "moral satisfaction" of doing it makes the food literally taste better, people feel validated in their choices and continue to buy the crap with promising labels.
Man, we're so dumb. Especially in a place like Colorado where everyone loathes gluten and "sustainable" is the nicest compliment you can give someone, food companies will be able to clean up with this info.