The Organic Foods Scam

May 24, 2012
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Byron Caplan wants to know why the organic foods market is growing by leaps and bounds even though it charges a 30% to 50% price premium and there is no evidence that it does any good:

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Byron Caplan wants to know why the organic foods market is growing by leaps and bounds even though it charges a 30% to 50% price premium and there is no evidence that it does any good:

Major literature reviews in 2009, 2003, and 2002 report that (a) there’s little solid evidence about the health benefits of organics, and (b) existing evidence reveals little health benefit of organics.

Caplan wonders how this is consistent with a belief in the rationality of markets and surmises that this market may attract a special type of consumer:

This is hardly surprising given the emotional, credulous cognitive style of organic consumers. Can you imagine the typical “all-natural” fan changing his mind in response to peer-reviewed nutritional research? That’s just not how they roll.

My own explanation: the market responds to people’s fantasies and it does a very good job of doing so.

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