Brow Beat

What Happens When You Serve McDonald’s to Food Snobs and Tell Them It’s Organic

A Dutch production agency “specializ[ing] in awesome viral video content” recently decided to carry out a cartoonish foodie version of the Judgment of Paris: It sent two pranksters to a food expo armed with samples of McDonald’s sandwiches and snacks, which they told people was their “new, organic alternative to fast food.” Predictably—and somewhat amusingly—the denizens of the food festival were much kinder to McDonald’s fare when they thought it was organic. (For English subtitles, hit play, then click on Settings—the little gear icon at the bottom of the video—and Subtitles/CC.)

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To be fair, some of their reviews are not quite raves: “The structure is good,” says one solemn man. “Yes. Not too sticky.” And a lot of the people who give positive feedback are probably just trying to be polite. After all, they believe they’re being interviewed by the very people who made the food—it would be rude to criticize a chef’s creation to his face. But several people’s insistence that the food tastes more “pure” than McDonald’s just goes to show that “pure” (like “clean”) is a moral concept that’s practically meaningless with regard to food, and that your beliefs about what you’re eating will absolutely affect your experience of eating it.

I was glad to see that the hosts didn’t make too much of their findings. Their main takeaway from the experiment was straightforward, undeniable, and not particularly meaningful, when you think about it: “If you tell people that something is organic, they’ll automatically believe it’s organic!”

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