LadiesOfResearch.PosterProject.OrganicVsNon-Organic

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Published on April 26, 2014

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Organic Foods Vs. Non-Organic Foods: Organic Foods Vs. Non-Organic Foods Ladies of Research Group Azusa Pacific University PowerPoint Presentation: To buy Organic or not to buy Organic . . . That is the question. Hypothesis:: Hypothesis: If graduate students are given the choice between organic foods and regular/non-organic foods, then they will choose organic. PowerPoint Presentation: O rganic products have undeniably and rapidly entered the food market domain in the last decade, and as a result, have created a booming and lucrative industry worth approximately $29 billion (Aubrey & Charles, 2012). Method Discussion Organic Foods Vs. Non-Organic Foods Ladies of Research Group: Marie Pamela Lineberry , Jamie Hall, Treiana Crossley, & Diane Hultgren Azusa Pacific University Chart #1 Chart #2 References Literature Review Results In this study, data was collected from 15 current and previous students from Azusa Pacific University. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 60 years old. Overall, the eight quantitative research questions show that the majority of participants do prefer organic over non-organic. Even though our survey results corroborate our hypothesis, our study might produce different results if taken in another environment or situation. Aubrey , A., & Charles, D. (2012, September 4). Why organic food may not be healthier for you . Retrieved from http:// www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/09/04/160395259/why-organic-food Literature Review: Literature Review Literature Review: Upon review of numerous research articles, we were able to extrapolate some very interesting and pertinent information regarding the topic of organic versus non-organic foods. It is a fact that organic products have undeniably and rapidly entered the food market domain in the last decade, and as a result, have created a booming and lucrative industry worth approximately $29 billion (Aubrey & Charles, 2012). Also, according to Cummins (2011), it seems that approximately 30 million households are not only purchasing organic foods, but buying clothing, body care, supplements and other products on a regular basis. There is even a movement in Christianity towards including eating organic food and supporting local farming as fulfilling a spiritual mandate to glorify God in what we eat and drink (Fields, 2010). There are many implications of this change and people vary widely in their opinions and passion about the subject. But what does the research really say? Literature Review What does the research say? ~Health ~Environment ~Consumer Habits & Opinions Literature Review: Literature Review First, we began looking at the health benefits between organic versus non-organic foods which considered toxicity, nutritional implications, and the reasons why consumers purchase organic. We found that the key reasons why some consumers prefer to purchase organic over non-organic foods are as follows: 1) organic foods are produced without the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s), 2) organic foods are considered more safe and pure, 3) there is less worry about food poisoning caused by bacterial strains (i.e. e-coli, salmonella, campylobacter, MRSA) and fecal contaminants, 4) farming practices do not use sewage sludge as their main fertilizer, 5) there is less of a threat of contracting mad-cow disease, 6) animals are treated in more humane ways, 7) the consumer is concerned with higher nutritional value that may come from organic foods, 8) people want to support the survival of family farms over the mass-production mentality, 9) organic farming utilizes less fossil fuels in the production process, so it can be considered to be more climate friendly, and 10) organic foods certification process prohibits nuclear irradiation, known as “cold pasteurization” (Cummins, 2011). To better digest the research, we have broken down our findings and divided them into three subsections: Health, Environment, and Consumer Habits & Opinions. Health : Health Literature Review: Health: Literature Review: Health After having reviewed several of the studies done to prove or disprove if organic food is better for you, some of the results do not seem to show significant nutritional benefits of organic food, but this may be due to having limited research available, especially longitudinal research. According to the Mayo Clinic Staff (2013), there had been some examination of scientific articles over the past 50 years that essentially found that the nutritional content of organically and conventionally produced foods are comparable. But, there has been research to suggest that the nutrition of many foods has been diminished today compared to fifty years ago. Another recent study has shown that “the nutritional differences between organic produce and non-organic produce are generally minuscule, although research on the topic is ongoing” (Solomon, 2013). However, this does not take into account the effects of toxins (pesticide use) or GMO’s on health. In animal studies, conventionally grown foods have been shown to be linked to reproductive problems, behavior issues, asthma, endocrine problems, birth defects and cancer ( Gerszberg , 2013). Further future research is needed to truly understand if these factors have a negative impact on human health despite the claim that nutrition may be similar. Literature Review: Health: Literature Review: Health Still another study in the Journal of Applied Nutrition, stated that the methods of determining nutritional content in the past were by dry ashed concentration; when the usage of more accurate methods (open-vessel hot-plate acid digestion) of determining elemental concentrations was applied, the results were staggeringly in favor of organic foods. There was an average of 90% more nutritional elements in the pears, apples, potatoes, and wheat that were organic than the ones that were not. When it came to corn, the average difference was over 2 and a half times greater nutritional content with organic. This study was performed over two years (Smith, 1995). Clearly the research is not conclusive at best and is controversial at this time; there is a lot of money and agenda involved that can potentially impact study designs and outcomes. Hopefully more research will be done to get closer to the truth; however, the demand for organic foods for health reasons continues to increase according to market data ( Baourakis , 2004). Environment:  Environment Literature Review: Environment : Literature Review: Environment The next topic to consider is the environmental safety which currently focuses on short-term impacts on farming principles used by organic and standard practices. According to Iwashyna (2013), “Organic farming is much more sustainable, it is better for our water, our land and our biodiversity.” It seems that organic farmers: 1) use more diverse crops which create healthier soil, 2) the surrounding water sources are protected from pesticide runoff, 3) organic farming works with the land not against it, and 4) buying organic supports local farmers and has environmental benefits in and of itself ( Iwashyna , 2013). However, because organic farmers are required to follow the U.S. Department of Agriculture certification program which requires not only that all organic foods meet strict government guidelines but must also follow a labeling protocol as well. In order for a seal to be placed on a product, the food must be 95% - 100% organic. For instance, products that contain 70% organic ingredients cannot use the seal but can include organic items on their ingredient list according to Mayo Clinic Staff (2013 ). Literature Review: Environment : Literature Review: Environment What does this mean for organic farmers and for the consumer? As reported by the Mayo Clinic Staff, this means that agricultural practices must be set up to encourage the conservation of both soil and water, while implementing ways to reduce pollution. Today’s organic farmers use natural fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides from natural sources, while organic meat and meat products are not treated with antibiotic and growth hormones. As a result of stricter guidelines, organic farmers must charge more for organic foods to remain in compliance (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2013). Another major consideration regarding the impacts on the environment are the usage of antibiotics with animals. Animals being raised for food in the U.S. account for the consumption of 75% of the antibiotics in this country. Subsequently, there is an increase in antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria ( Gerszberg , 2013). This has major implications for the environment as well as the future health of animals and people. According to Solomon (2013), “With organic production there is a much lower environmental impact, because of the use of minimal additive and synthetic substance use, followed by stricter regulations of farming practices with greater quality in the food you eat.” Clearly Solomon connects environmental best practice management with food quality. However, a dogmatic passion about sustainability may simply hold people back from the creative new approaches and developments based on natural sciences (Blair, 2011 ). Consumer Habits & Opinions: Consumer Habits & Opinions Consumer Habits & Opinions: Consumer Habits & Opinions Lastly, we will look at consumer habits and opinions of organic foods versus non-organic foods. There are many factors that seem to influence the decision to choose organic foods over non-organic foods. Dettmann viewed consumer decision-making as occurring in two stages; the first stage is whether or not to buy organic food and the second stage essentially is determining how much to buy (2008). Various findings state that demographic information like education and income were also significant factors in the purchasing process of whether to buy organic or not. Some of the research discovered that households with some college education were more likely to purchase organic produce, and also women without college degrees but who had higher incomes were also likely to purchase organic produce ( Dettmann , 2008). Organic foods are priced at 40%-140% higher than conventional foods in many cases according to Givens, Baxter, & Minihane (2008). This may be the largest factor in making decisions about food purchases. Method: Method Method: Method Participants Materials Procedure Participants: Participants Participants: Participants In this study, data was collected from 15 current and previous students from Azusa Pacific University. Participants in this study ranged in age from 18 to 60 years old. They were all graduate students who had attended the Clinical Psychology program. Our sample included both male and female, however, the majority of participants were female. They come from various SES and ethnic backgrounds; however their education level was similar. Materials: Materials Materials: Materials We used an online survey as our main research tool. Students who agreed to participate in our survey were sent (via email) a SurveyMonkey link that consisted of eight quantitative and two qualitative questions that were neither biased nor leaning toward a “right or wrong” answer. These questions assessed perceptions of whether the participant preferred to purchase organic versus non-organic foods. Questions also assessed to determine variables that may prevent them from purchasing organic when provided the opportunity. In conducting our research we decided to utilize a Likert scale for five of the questions, Multiple-Choice questions for 2 of them, and Open-Ended questions for the last two in order to get some qualitative data. SurveyMonkey calculated the results of the survey. Procedure: Procedure Procedure: Procedure Initially we met as a group via the online forum page and collectively developed our research idea. Once we created our hypothesis, we then assigned each member the duty of creating three quantitative questions and one qualitative. As a group we reviewed all questions and carefully selected the ten that we felt would provide us with the best research for our study. We then assigned one member from our group the duty of sending our final survey questions along with start and finish dates of our research, along with a general description of our research. This included the number of subjects we would utilize along with their demographics (graduate students). Procedure: Procedure Once all of this information was prepared, our designated group member then forwarded the information to Reyna Guzman from the Office of Research Integrity and Assurance (ORIA). Ms. Guzman was also provided with the primary contact information of all group members with one being assigned as the designated contact for our group. Contact information provided included email addresses for all group members. Once the information was processed, the ORIA granted our group the stamp of approval to proceed forward with collecting all the data. At that point, each group member was responsible in sending out a letter to their four participants which included the approval header and discussion about informed consent, along with the link on how to access and answer questions for the online survey program called SurveyMonkey . Of the 16 participants asked to participate, we received 15 responses for our survey questions . Results: Results Results: Results Results: Results The following is a summary of our results. In analyzing the eight quantitative questions provided to the participants of our research survey conducted on current and previous graduate students at APU, 15 out of the 16 participants completed the online survey we provided (N=15). On the table provided next (Table 1), it shows that for question number three (M=4.13, SD=2.0), 60 % of the participants agreed that buying organic over non-organic is healthier. PowerPoint Presentation: Survey Item Mean Standard Deviation 1. There is little difference between buying organic food or non-organic food. 1.67 0.49 2. Buying organic means that I support the environment and sustainable agriculture. 3.27 1.44 3. Buying organic means that I am choosing to eat healthier foods. 4.13 0.99 4. Whenever I have the option to shop organic, I choose to, no matter the cost. 2.67 1.05 5. When deciding between organic and non-organic foods, the size and the color of the produce/meat is a factor. 3.27 1.22 6. How much money are you likely to spend at each visit to the Market? 2.67 1.05 7. When you purchase groceries, what Market do you prefer? 2.20 1.21 8. If you were to buy organic foods, which is most important? 2.93 1.49 Table 1 Results: Results Question two (M=3.27, SD=1.44) addressed views of consumers about organic food and the environment (see Figure 2). Over 50% agreed that buying organic was beneficial to the environment, 26% disagreed to this, and 20% neither agreed nor disagreed. The variance regarding this was greater than the variance in views of the impact of organic foods on health; however, the majority of people either agreed or strongly agreed that buying organic supports the environment and sustainability. Results: Results It is notable that both health and environment were considerations in consumer perceptions of organic food; however it is unclear what causes health to be more of a concern. This may be due to more education about health or it may be due to personal or cultural values. Results: Results Because income and education level seemed to be major determining factors in the actual purchasing of organic foods based on previous research, our findings of the survey were interesting. Though educated people were considered more likely to buy organic foods, none of the participants in our study strongly agreed that they would buy organic foods no matter the cost. In fact, more people disagreed than agreed to the statement. Our sample was graduate students from APU but though they overall felt buying organic food was beneficial to their health and the environment, none of them were adamant about making those purchases if the cost was in excess. Results: Results In continuing to analyze the results of our research, it was found that (M=3.27, SD=1.22) 40% of the participants agreed that they do consider the size and the color of the meat or produce as a factor when deciding to purchase organic vs. non-organic (Figure 3). This question’s results were pretty evenly distributed so it did not give us much information. Results: Results It was also found that 10 out of 15, which was 76.92% (M= 2.20, SD=1.21), of the participants preferred to purchase their food at Trader Joe’s compared to a Whole Foods store or a traditional grocery store (Figure 4). This could reflect the desire to eat healthier (as Trader Joe’s does support a lot of local agriculture and pure ingredients) but not willing to make the full monetary sacrifice involved with eating more organic, non-GMO foods from Whole Foods. PowerPoint Presentation: Figure 4 Results: Results Overall, the eight quantitative research questions show that the majority of participants do prefer organic over non-organic. The research further shows that while they do prefer organic there are some outside variables that alter their choice in purchasing organic, such as cost. Results: Results When reviewing the two qualitative questions provided in the survey, the first asking the participants “Is buying organic important? Why or why not?” the majority of the participants (10 out of the 15) agree that buying organic is important for health reasons and environmental reasons as well as for the more humane treatment of animals. While the others state it is not a priority because of the cost of organic foods or they never considered the health and environmental benefits of organic foods. Results: Results The second question asked participants to identify their reasoning for their preference of organic or non-organic food. The responses varied, again some participants stated they purchase organic because they can identify the health and environmental benefits in doing so, while others stated they purchase half organic and half non-organic, and finally there were those who do not purchase organic at all due to the increase in cost for organic foods. Therefore the research concluded that overall, when given the opportunity, the majority of APU graduate students would purchase organic food over non-organic food as long as the cost seems to be sensible to them. Discussion: Discussion Discussion: Reflecting once more on our original hypothesis, it states: If graduate students are given the choice between organic foods and regular/non-organic foods, then they will choose organic. Discussion Discussion : Discussion According to our survey results it appears as though our hypothesis was substantiated. The majority of the surveyed APU graduate students reported that, when given the opportunity to, they would purchase organic food over non-organic food. The way in which the questions were worded did not display any biased terminology and was administered in the most unbiased way as possible. Even though our survey results corroborate our hypothesis, our study might produce different results if taken in another environment or situation. Discussion : Discussion Our study included our fellow classmates who participated in the survey on-line via email. This type of environment could potentially contribute to a homogenous sample of similar preferences about organic foods (e.g. popular trends among college students). The study was sufficient in that it asked the participants several questions in different forms regarding their preferences of organic vs. regular/non-organic foods. Discussion : Discussion Second, the temporal generalizability of this study might be compromised by economic and social climate. For example, conducting this survey with college graduate students 5, 10, or 20 years from now when the college students may be impacted by greater financial constraints/successes or various ethnic or cultural preferences, may result in a greater variance. While we had hoped to have our results reflect the diversity of our participants, our survey was limited to seeking out fellow classmates as participants without taking any cross-cultural considerations in our survey questions. Discussion : Discussion Further research will be necessary to examine the cost-related factors as well as examining cross-cultural considerations of graduate students choosing between organic foods and regular/nonorganic foods. Our sample population is very small and certainly not reflective of a larger population (i.e. all graduate students or all Americans). Surveying a larger population and utilizing more test questions could return more powerful results. The data collected in our survey clearly presented a true preference for organic foods for both health and environmental reasons. PowerPoint Presentation: The Choice is Yours References: References Aubrey, A., & Charles, D. (2012, September 4). Why organic food may not be healthier for you . Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/09/04/160395259/why-organic-food Baourakis , G. (2004). Marketing trends for organic food in the 21st century . Retrieved from http://encore.apu.edu/iii/encore/encore/c_Rb1350985_SMarketing%.20Trends Blair, R. (2011). Organic production on food quality: A down to earth analysis . Retrieved from http://0-site.ebrary.com.patris.apu.edu/lib/apuelibrary/docDetail.action?docID=10512953 Cummins, R. (2011, August 17). Beyond franken foods and toxins: OCA's ten reasons to buy organic . Retrieved from http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_23801.cfm#.UxGE79pqon4.email References: References Dettmann , R. L. (2008). Organic produce: Who is eating it? A demographic profile of organic produce consumers. Economic Research Service, USDA . Retrieved from http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/6446/2467595 Fields, L. L. (2010, November 5). A feast fit for a king: Returning the growing fields and kitchen table to god . Retrieved from http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/november/9.22.html Gerszberg , D. (2013, May 31). Is buying organic worth It? Retrieved from http://newsroom.cumc.columbia.edu/blog/2013/05/31 Givens, I., Baxter, S., & Minihane , A. (2008, September). Health benefits of organic food: Effects of the enviroment . Retrieved from http://encore.apu.edu/iii/encore/record/C_Rb1299954 Iwashyna , A. (2013, October 14). Does god want me to eat organic food? Retrieved from https://progressivechristianity.org/resources/does-god-want-me-to-eat-organis-food/. References: References Mayo Clinic Staff (2012, September 7). Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious? Retrieved from http://mayoclinic.org//health-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/organic-food/art-20043880 Morganwalp , D. W., & Buxton, H. T. (1999). U.S. Geological Survey Toxic Substances Hydrology Program: Proceedings of the Technical Meeting, Charleston, South Carolina, March 8-12, 1999 . West Trenton, NJ: U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey. Smith , B. L. (1993). Organic foods vs supermarket foods: Element levels . Retrieved from http://journeytoforever.org/farm_library/bobsmith.html Solomon, Z. (2013, August 29). Organic vs. non-organic: What’s the difference? Retrieved from http://www.foodsafteynews.com/2013/08/organic

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