Many doctors agree that the term “superfood” is not much more than just a marketing word, used to attract more customers. It is often used to describe an array of products that are supposedly extremely beneficial for people’s health and have a great nutritional value. Despite the disagreement of the science community, people do pay more for so called superfoods and not scientists from the University of Adelaide found out why.
As this new research showed, people are sceptical about the health benefits of superfoods. However, they do consume them, because they believe that it works as “”extra insurance” for their health. Scientists say that there is more to that than just a clever marketing trick.
Jessica Loyer, author of the study, explained: “The word ‘superfood’ itself is a creation of marketing and media, and on the surface it seems easy to dismiss the entire concept as a clever marketing ploy aimed at duping gullible consumers. But in fact, the history and use of superfoods globally goes much deeper than that, and the reasons for their popular appeal today are more than just superficial”.
Scientists conducted focus group interviews and travelled to the superfood farms in Peru. Study showed that consumers consider these products as something in between food and medicine. However, it was also revealed that people rarely know how to consume these superfoods, what benefits they have or what their origin is. Furthermore, there are a lot of misconceptions regarding superfoods. For example, many people think of them as the opposite of popular highly-processed foods, but are unaware that superfoods also go through a lot of processing. It is also interesting that taste does not play an important role in the decision to purchase and consume superfoods – most people consume them in smoothie form.
Research revealed that people who consume superfoods are fully aware that they are being sold because of clever marketing. Furthermore, many of them are even sceptical about potential health benefits that these products may have. The reason they are willing to pay more for these superfoods is the belief that it cannot hurt and even minor benefits are like an extra bit of insurance for their health.
This research takes a look into our perception about healthy eating. While superfoods may be surrounded by marketing tricks to sell some products for a higher price, these tricks are well-known between the people who consume these foods. Scientists say that superfoods do play an important role in the global food economy and therefore more researches about them are likely.