Study: Consumers think expensive foods are healthier

Dive Brief:

  • A new study conducted by marketing professors at three universities revealed that a large percentage of people think that healthy food is more expensive than unhealthy food, and that healthy food actually needs to be expensive, according to the Huffington Post.
  • The findings, published in The Journal of Consumer Research, also showed that a high price tag on a product often convinces consumers that food is healthy, even if it isn't. 
  • The study authors noted that these perceptions were hard to change. Study participants in the study had to read more about the products they were told were healthy (yet inexpensive) to convince themselves it was true. 

Dive Insight:

A look around a grocery store would show that organic produce, gluten-free food, and other products deemed healthy normally cost more money than their less healthy counterparts. In many instances, however, the nutritional value of food products rank the same. 

The fact that people think higher priced food is better for them can have dangerous connotations, as food manufacturers could simply increase prices on certain foods to try and convince consumers that the product is healthier than it really is.

Last year, the FDA began a public process to redefine “healthy” for food labels, part of an overall plan by the organization to help consumers better understand what’s inside the foods they are buying and consuming. This is one step in helping to end the myth equating healthiness to price.

Retailers can try to combat this perception by organizing healthy foods in designated sections and clearly marking sales on foods that people might not normally consider healthy because of its low price. 

Follow on Twitter

Filed Under: Grocery Ingredients Marketing