Eating for Status

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on June 20, 2019 · 0 comments

Today we hear a lot about “foodies” and “ethical consumers.” Researchers in Canada attempted to determine who fit into these categories. They found that foodies define good taste through aesthetic standards, whereas the ethical consumer was driven by moral principals. In both cases, these consumers were people of higher economic levels so they could afford to pay more for food choices that fit their beliefs. People surveyed in the research study that considered themselves neither foodies or ethical food consumers had far lower incomes.

Everyone should be able to purchase or eat the food they feel fits their beliefs and convictions. Foodies and ethical consumers, however, have powerful and persuasive voices when it comes to food choices. They are driving many of the changes we are seeing in our foods – nonGMO, simpler ingredients, more organics, heritage breeds, pasture-raised animals, newer packaging options – just to name a few. Some would argue that these are good changes, and they might be. But many brands are struggling to make these reformulations at a price-point that all consumers can afford. When it comes to affordability, one has to wonder how many grocery shoppers want a seat at the ethical table.

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