Being Ethical Has A Surprising Fringe Benefit

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: “Emotions can create measurable changes in the physical world?” Honestly, sometimes I agree, and sometimes I don’t. For example, water "responding” to different words by forming crystals? Not sure I buy that. Can meditation lower crime rates? I wish that were true, but I’m not so sure. But today, when I read a study that showed evidence that ethically produced food actually tastes better, I 100% bought it. Here’s the deal, scientists set out to answer this central question: “What has led to (the) incredible increase in people’s appetites for food of ethical origin, despite its typically higher price?” A group of 112 students were assembled to eat some cookies (where was I?), and the data consistently showed that the cookies which were endorsed as being produced by an environmentally friendly and ethical company scored higher marks in taste. Why? Because people feel good about making the choice to eat ethically produced food, and that influences their expectation, and even experience of eating it.
Photographed by: Janelle Jones.
These findings are significant for two reasons: One, it shows that people’s perception and emotions about a larger issue (in this case, the environment) have a direct effect on the physical experience of a product (good taste). And two, as MedicalXpress reports, this “research could now lead to new ways of measuring return on investment in ethical food production.” Food companies across the board — from grocery stores to fast food chains — are trying to understand how to attract millennial dollars. And while some studies have shown that younger generations are happy to spend more money on products they perceive as “healthy,” I think it goes way deeper than that. Speaking as a millennial, I don't spend extra money on a product just because it has a healthy label on it. I spend extra money on something when I know it is good for me and aligns with my values, or speaks to larger issues I am concerned about. I have to eat to survive (so does everyone!), but I don't want or intend to do harm. If I have to spend extra money on a product for reassurance, then so be it. And, frankly, I am happy if that translates into yummier cookies, even if it's all in my head.

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