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Food labeling and eco-friendly consumption: Experimental evidence from a Belgian supermarket

Listed author(s):
  • Vlaeminck, Pieter
  • Jiang, Ting
  • Vranken, Liesbet

Using an incentive-compatible framed field experiment, we investigate whether consumers' food consumption is more eco-friendly when the information about a product's environmental impact is more easily accessible. Through an online survey, we identify a food label that is perceived to be the most easily accessible for assessing a product's eco-friendliness among six alternatives. These alternatives vary on multiple dimensions, including whether a standardized score of the overall environmental impact is added. This new food label is subsequently tested in an experimental food market embedded in a Belgian supermarket. We find that the presence of the new label that was preselected in the online survey leads to more eco-friendly food consumption relative to either the label currently used in the supermarket, or the label that contains the raw information of the environmental impact. In our experimental food market, the use of an easy-to-interpret but comprehensive environmental information label increases the overall eco-friendliness of our subjects' food consumption by about 5.3% relative to the default label used in current markets.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800914003309
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 108 (2014)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 180-190

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:108:y:2014:i:c:p:180-190
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2014.10.019
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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