A forthcoming study says our brains work against us when choosing healthy foods.
Yep, more money doesn’t necessarily buy healthier food. Researchers say our subconscious associates higher cost with higher health, according to an article in today’s Washington Post.
“We often ask how consumers process information about what they should eat,” said Kelly Haws of Vanderbilt University, who co-authored this study in the Journal of Consumer Health. “The truth is, we give them a ton of information — and they don’t process it all.”
The name for this behavior is heuristics. It’s a mental shortcut to simply decisions. Instead of taking the time and energy to evaluate food – i.e. calories, ingredients, brand – we assume that the more expensive item will be healthier.
In one of several trials, participants evaluated two protein bars. One was 99 cents; the other was $4. They spent much more time reading the reviews of the lower cost bar – not believing a “healthy” item would be so cheap.
Very interesting, and costly! We could spend a lot less moolah in 2017 with a different criteria.
Here’s more on the study and how it can help us shop more consciously.