People on social assistance are judged as frivolous and immoral for making ethical purchases such as organic food, while the rich are considered virtuous for the same choices, new research shows.

“We as a society judge these type of purchases, whether it’s organic or fair trade, as being good things — they have this moral halo,” said lead author Darren Dahl, senior associate dean of faculty for the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia.

“People on welfare tend to be seen as undeserving of more expensive options and wasting taxpayers’ hard-earned cash,” he said. “People feel these individuals have not earned the right to make these kinds of choices.”