Date of Award
Farm produce -- Quality -- Public opinion, Consumer behavior, Natural foods, Grocery shopping
Attention on organic produce and food waste is becoming increasingly intense in the United States. Consumers typically prefer aesthetically perfect produce, forcing grocery stores to throw away blemished fruits and vegetables. Organic produce is typically more blemished than conventional produce. Little research has been done to examine the consumer’s preference for conventional versus organic produce, and the point, if any, where consumers are more likely to choose one over the other. We conducted a controlled online study where we showed participants various organic and conventional apples with varying degrees of imperfections, and asked participants a series of questions about which they preferred. From this study, we learned that typically, consumers believe organic produce is healthier than conventional produce and are more willing to accept blemished organic produce when they know which is organic and which is conventional. If neither is labeled, consumers will then judge solely off the aesthetics of the apple. With this information, farmers may be able to sell more of their produce to stores than they previously thought while grocery stores will want to consider how they are labeling and marketing their produce.
VanderWaal, Dina, "If It Is Unsightly, Is It Less Healthy? Understanding the Consumer’s Desire for Aesthetically Perfect Produce" (2017). University Honors Theses. Paper 495.