Fear-based health and safety messages from public health activists and organic produce marketers concerning nonorganic produce could be undermining their efforts in the eyes of low-income consumers, according to peer-reviewed research recently published in Nutrition Today.
Researchers found that when activists or marketers employmessaging that inaccurately focuses on produce having higher pesticide residues, low-income shoppers don't turn to organic produce, as is the groups' intent. Instead, low-income shoppers are unlikely to purchase produce at all.
Researchers recommend more consistent communication with consumers regarding the health and safety of consuming fruits and vegetables through cooperation among food producers and activists.
An editorial from the Alliance for Food and Farming suggested that not only were fear-based messages backfiring on organic producers, but claims about pesticides and nonorganic produce's impact on health were also often inaccurate, per peer-reviewed research. Manufacturers have to walk a fine line between sharing health and safety-related messaging and not scaring consumers away from the category entirely ‚Äîespecially low-income consumers, for whom organic produce may be less readily available.
Instead, manufacturers could focus on more positive messaging about the benefits of organic produce without casting a negative light on its conventionally grown competition. That could include how organic farming may be more sustainable and better for the environment,without harping on how GMO farming may be harmful to the environment. They could also talk about health benefits organic produce offers, without comparing to other variations in the produce aisle.