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How to improve consumers' environmental sustainability judgements of foods

Lazzarini, Gianna A.; Visschers, Vivianne H. M. and Siegrist, Michael (2018) How to improve consumers' environmental sustainability judgements of foods. Journal of Cleaner Production, 198, pp. 564-574.

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Document available online at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652618320006


Food production and consumption account for approximately one-third of households' environmental impact. Consumers thus play a major role in the shift towards more sustainable foods and diets. An overall sustainability label or simple guidelines may enable consumers to make more environmentally friendly food choices, but whether such information-based tools improve consumers' ability to choose environmentally sustainable foods has not been empirically investigated. This study's online choice task experiment shows that eco-labels and guidelines marginally increased consumers' accuracy in selecting environmentally friendly foods. Respondents adhered, however, more to guidelines than to eco-labels and led to choices with lower environmental impact. In addition, respondents showed several misconceptions related to the environmental performance of protein products, which were resistant to both eco-labels and guidelines. These findings suggest that new, costly labels may not improve consumers' environmental judgements. Instead, addressing consumers' misconceptions and finding ways to promote environmentally sustainable food purchases is essential.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:food choices, environmental label, environmentally friendly food, guidelines, consumers' environmental evaluation, Socio-Economics, sustainability assessment
Subjects: Food systems > Processing, packaging and transportation
Values, standards and certification > Consumer issues
Environmental aspects
Research affiliation: Switzerland > ETHZ - Agrarwissenschaften
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Society > Rural sociology
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Sustainability
Deposited By: Lazzarini, Dr. Gianna A.
ID Code:34800
Deposited On:03 Mar 2019 13:27
Last Modified:15 Mar 2022 15:16
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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