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NewsBites March 2017 Issue

Price of Food May Unduly Influence How Healthy We Think It Is

If you expect healthy foods to cost more, you're not alone (although this isn't always true). When researchers asked people to make price/healthfulness judgments about food products based on descriptions and photos, the participants were more likely to:

Rate the same food as healthier when it cost more.

Use price to judge the value of a nutrient when they were unfamiliar with it.

Disbelieve a food was the healthiest in its category if it cost less than average.

"One of the best ways to compare food products is to look at the Nutrition Facts label, since all products are required to feature the same factual information there," says Rebecca Reczek, a co-author of the study published in the Journal of Consumer Research. If you're unfamiliar with a touted nutrient, do some research before paying more for a product that contains it, she says.

To learn more: Journal of Consumer Research, online December 2016

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