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Attention Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM) Shoppers: Everyone Hates You


Organic food may not be better for you, but its fans feel (and act) superior.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Americans bought $24.4 billion worth of organic foods in 2011 to little nutritional -- but great psychological -- effect if the conclusions of several studies are to be believed.

A "comprehensive meta-analysis" out today from Stanford University's Center for Health Policy finds no demonstrable proof that "organic" translates into "healthier." As researcher Crystal Smith-Spangler said, "We were a little surprised that we didn't find that."

So if buying organic doesn't have a physiological impact on consumers, what does it do? Apparently, it has turned them into a pack of raving a**holes.

In a May 2012 study, Loyola University's Kendall Eskine found that "After viewing a few organic foods, comfort foods, or control foods, participants who were exposed to organic foods volunteered significantly less time to help a needy stranger, and they judged moral transgressions significantly harsher than those who viewed nonorganic foods."

"These results," wrote Eskine, "suggest that exposure to organic foods may lead people to affirm their moral identities, which attenuates their desire to be altruistic."

Or, in the words of New York Times reporter Hope Reeves, "[P]eople who eat organic food are, on the whole, more likely to be jerks."

Could it be? Can the contents of one's shopping cart mean all that? Has Whole Foods' (NASDAQ:WFM) success come courtesy of the world's worst people? Are the shoppers at Safeway (NYSE:SWY) simply more pleasant human beings? Do those who prefer Big Macs (NYSE:MCD) treat their fellow man with more sensitivity than Kashi (NYSE:K) eaters?
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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