Organic food labels are increasingly being used as a way to promote organic products, but some people worry that the labels are misleading.
A new study by a University of Wisconsin-Madison team found that consumers who read organic labels are more likely to buy products labeled as organic if they’re buying from the same company, but they’re also more likely not to buy the organic version if they know that the label doesn’t come from an organic farm.
The study, which was published this week in the journal Food Policy, found that people were more likely than those who did not read organic labeling to buy an organic product from a company that is affiliated with a farmer.
The researchers found that organic labeling has been used as an effective marketing tool by companies that have adopted organic labeling practices.
But consumers who are unfamiliar with the label, or don’t understand the label at all, may be more likely, or even more likely still, to buy organic products from companies affiliated with farmers, the study found.
“Consumers who are more familiar with the organic label and who are purchasing organic products are more inclined to trust the organic labeling,” said study co-author Jennifer L. Fong, an associate professor in the UW-Madison Department of Health, Aging and Society.
“They are also more willing to buy from farmers who use organic methods.”
The study examined the purchasing behavior of more than 6,000 people in Wisconsin over a 12-month period, with the intention of learning about how consumers are consuming organic food labels.
“When we see consumers who say they don’t buy organic because of the label or because it doesn’t make sense, we want to understand why that might be,” Fong said.
“The best way to understand consumers’ behavior is to see how they make decisions about organic products.”
The researchers analyzed purchasing behavior over a four-month span between April and June 2017.
They used data from a nationwide survey of more 5,500 consumers that was conducted between May 2017 and July 2017.
The research team looked at whether consumers would buy a product labeled organic if it had an organic farming organization as an affiliation, or if it was not affiliated with an organic company.
The results showed that people who read the organic food labeling label were more than three times more likely compared to those who didn’t read it, with consumers who didn.
The majority of the consumers surveyed were men, but women were also more than twice as likely as men to purchase organic food.
In the survey, nearly three-quarters of those who said they read organic food brands were men.
The researchers said this is because they were more interested in organic foods that were labeled organic.
The average price of organic food sold in Wisconsin was about $1.23 per ounce, compared to about $0.80 for conventional food.
However, that difference in price was due to the higher cost of organic ingredients and processing, Fong added.
The price difference could have more to do with the quality of the organic ingredients used in the organic versions of products.
Organic food can have fewer allergens, fewer pesticides and less sodium than conventional food, Fongs said.