Studies Confirm: Local Food Tastes Better

When was the last time you sliced into a homegrown heirloom tomato or chopped a fresh, locally-grown cucumber up for a salad? That vibrant taste, the scent that just smells like summer — there’s nothing quite like local food, and now science is backing up such claims.

It turns out that our attitude about local, ethically-grown food affects our experience while eating it, for the better.

A study entitled “Savouring morality. Moral satisfaction renders food of ethical origin subjectively tastier” was published in the journal Appetite. Researchers conducted a series of experiments to determine if moral satisfaction impacts the taste of food.

Researchers were most interested in answering one question through the experiments: Does food taste better when we feel that we’re doing something good for our community?

The first experiment used survey data regarding shopping habits gathered from 5,000 people in eight European Union countries, while the three other experiments involved smaller sample sizes.

The three smaller experiments examined how individuals’ environmentalism and altruism influenced how much they enjoyed the food products they purchased, whether it was organic, fair-trade or locally-produced food.

Taste first

The authors acknowledged that taste is one of the most important factors when it comes to our food choices, “often outweighing other important factors such as food’s healthiness and price,” but food can be affected by a wide range of external cues.

Although food’s ethicality often doesn’t equate to the food’s nutritional quality — there are plenty of fair-trade chocolate bars on the market — previous studies indicated that labeling about a food’s fair-trade or organic nature positively affected the perceived taste.

The study found that buying ethical food leads to moral satisfaction. This in turn leads to enhanced taste expectations and experience. Finally, the overall experience leads to a higher likelihood of continued buying behavior. The combined results of the experiments concluded two very important points:

First, that “food of ethical origin is experienced as tastier by people who experience moral satisfaction and formulate enhanced taste expectations.”

And second, that “the morality-enhanced tastiness of ethical food appears to act as a reinforcing mechanism that sustains consumers’ buying intentions and willingness to pay for ethical food — two measures likely to reflect consumers’ actual purchasing behavior.” 

The study also found that endorsement plays a role in a food’s tastiness. If a consumer endorses the values associated with a locally-sourced or fair-trade food item, then he or she will have a better taste experience in contrast to people who did not subscribe to such values.

A sense of community

Another study, conducted by the University of Iowa, found that relationships as well as values help inform our choices to shop locally.

These “locavores” purchase locally-grown food because it makes them feel connected to the community. “It’s not just about the economical exchange; it’s a relational and ideological exchange as well,” said lead author Ion Vasi, associate professor at the University of Iowa’s Department of Sociology and Tippie College of Business, in the corresponding press release.

“It’s about valuing the relationship with the farmers and people who produce the food and believing that how they produce the food aligns with your personal values,” said Vasi. Indeed, the relative freshness of locally produced food is better — the USDA confirms that some produce is held in cold storage upwards of 10 months. However, our enjoyment of food largely hinges on how we feel when we purchase and eat it.

We’re big advocates for locally-sourced food and love that these results reinforce what we’ve been saying for years: Local food just tastes better.

Test Your Financial Advisor’s Loyalty with These Simple Questions

You have a financial advisor in order to make certain you have budgeted your money correctly, have planned for future financial needs, and, in some cases, to turn some of

Sell Puts the Smart Way: Get Out Before Expiration Nears

Selling put options can be a great way to help increase the value of your portfolio without taking on too much risk. At its core, a put sale allows investors


4 Pros and 1 Con of Refinancing Your Home

Two years ago the 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 4.6%. Today it is 2.9%. If your mortgage is in the high threes, you should consider refinancing. Refinancing would lower your

Easy Finance Tip: How to Calculate Your Net Worth

To calculate your net worth, just subtract your liabilities (what you owe) from your assets (what you own). While the equation is simple, it's important to get a snapshot of

Just a Few Bad Market Years Can Slam Your Retirement: How to Cut Your Risk

I believe one very underappreciated risk for investors preparing for retirement is the concept of “sequence of returns.” Sequence of return risk is the danger that the timing of withdrawals

Tai Chi Can Benefits for Those with Chronic Diseases

The Chinese martial art of tai chi can be beneficial to people suffering with chronic illnesses, according to research in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (2015), conducted by Dr.

Two Measures of Options Volatility That Matter

Most people often have a notion of what volatility means. They understand, at least conceptually, that it has to do with data of situations that vary over time. Weather is

3 Financial Habits to Adopt Before You Retire

Nobody wants to work until the day they die. We all want to get to a point where we can simply sit down, relax, and enjoy life.  Consider adopting these

11 Ways Eating Limes Can Protect Your Eyes, Heart, Joints and More

Most of us hear lime and think Corona beer or ceviche. Surprisingly, this little bright green fruit has many excellent benefits for your health and wellness. Limes are often overlooked

Why You Should Take Social Security Early and Invest

Social Security is a government program, so it is unnecessarily complicated. Working or retired? Married or divorced or both? Disabled? Private or public employer? All these factors affect your Social

5 Benefits of Opening a Health Savings Account

The tax advantages of a healthcare savings account are like those of a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA, or a 529 college savings plan. The account can be used like

A Simple, Easy Way to Lower Your Blood Pressure

According to the American Diabetes Association, one in three Americans have high blood pressure, and this condition may lead to other chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. There are