"They just say organic food is healthier": Perceptions of healthy food among supermarket shoppers in Southwest Baltimore

Sarah O. Rodman, Anne M Palmer, Drew A. Zachary, Laura C. Hopkins, Pamela Surkan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

To discover how organic food factors into low-income consumers' overall understanding of healthy eating, we analyzed 36 in-depth interviews with adults in Baltimore, Maryland. We asked participants to discuss their understanding of healthy eating. Unprompted, many participants discussed organic food or attributes commonly understood to define organic food. Some participants believed health issues including cancer, weight gain, and allergies can arise from consuming nonorganic foods. Participants expressed that organic competes with other food attributes such as nutrient content in informing their perception of whether a food is healthy. Several voiced concern that nonorganic foods are responsible for weight gain and abnormal development. Our results show that despite limited access, organic is an important factor in some consumers' understanding of healthy food. Consumers' perceptions of organic can swamp or compete with other messages about healthy eating. Therefore, consumers' understanding of organic should be considered in developing diet-related messages and programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-92
Number of pages10
JournalCulture, Agriculture, Food and Environment
Volume36
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

Fingerprint

Organic Food
Baltimore
organic foods
healthy diet
supermarkets
foods
food
Food
weight gain
consumer attitudes
eating behavior
abnormal development
swamps
hypersensitivity
Weight Gain
interviews
income
nutrient content
neoplasms
Wetlands

Keywords

  • Baltimore
  • Diet
  • Food
  • Nutrition
  • Organic
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Anthropology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Food Science

Cite this

"They just say organic food is healthier" : Perceptions of healthy food among supermarket shoppers in Southwest Baltimore. / Rodman, Sarah O.; Palmer, Anne M; Zachary, Drew A.; Hopkins, Laura C.; Surkan, Pamela.

In: Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment, Vol. 36, No. 2, 01.12.2014, p. 83-92.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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