It’s no secret that the whole fair trade, organic, buy local movement is taking hold, but have you ever stopped to wonder why exactly? It seems like the obvious ethical thing to do, but it isn’t always easy when it means parting with more money than is in the budget. Still, lots of people, from a wide range of economic backgrounds make the choice to do without in other areas, so that they can afford more ethically farmed and sourced foods. So what’s the deal? Well, I ran across an article on treehugger that suggested that emotions have a lot to do with driving our food purchasing trends.
The article noted that when people feel strongly about a purchase, rather than even just neutral, we tend to feel good about making the purchase, with less regard to price. Feeling good equates to creating purchasing habits. The whole idea that no one was harmed in the purchase of our fair trade chocolate bars makes us want to repeat the pattern. We actually get more joy out of our purchase, so the cost becomes easier to swallow–literally.
It’s not just the warm-fuzzies that drive our desire to seek out ethically derived food, either. Apparently, negative feelings play a pretty big role too. When people start thinking about large corporations, who for example contribute to pollution or less than desirable labor practices, they can easily villain-ize them. Those feelings of “anger and disgust” totally contribute to people turning their noses up at those purchases, despite their lower price points.
According the article, one study found that if people that can emotionally assign feelings in three different categories: “contempt for villains, concern for victims, and celebrations of heroes,” they are more motivated to take action. That action trickles into their purchasing choices.
So, what do you think, how much do your strong emotions play into your food buying choices? Are you passionate about how the animals are treated? Do you get angry at having unnecessary chemicals on your food? Does that make more willing to spend more money? What do you do without to make the purchases possible?
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