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

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  • Vlaeminck, Pieter
  • Jiang, Ting
  • Vranken, Liesbet

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Vlaeminck, Pieter & Jiang, Ting & Vranken, Liesbet, 2014. "Food labeling and eco-friendly consumption: Experimental evidence from a Belgian supermarket," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 180-190.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:108:y:2014:i:c:p:180-190
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2014.10.019
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    Cited by:

    1. Marine Desorge & Anne Marie Lacroix & Laurent Muller & Charles Pernin & Celia Potdevin & Bernard Ruffieux, 2017. "L'étiquetage au service d'une alimentation durable : le point de vue des consommateurs," Working Papers hal-01607347, HAL.
    2. Cristiano Codagnone & Giuseppe Alessandro Veltri & Francesco Bogliacino & Francisco Lupiáñez-Villanueva & George Gaskell & Andriy Ivchenko & Pietro Ortoleva & Francesco Mureddu, 2016. "Labels as nudges? An experimental study of car eco-labels," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 33(3), pages 403-432, December.
    3. Van Loo, Ellen J. & Caputo, Vincenzina & Nayga, Rodolfo M. & Seo, Han-Seok & Zhang, Baoyue & Verbeke, Wim, 2015. "Sustainability labels on coffee: Consumer preferences, willingness-to-pay and visual attention to attributes," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 215-225.
    4. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:12:p:2282-:d:122255 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Vlaeminck, Pieter & Vranken, Liesbet, 2015. "Do labels capture consumers’ actual willingness to pay for Fair Trade characteristics?," Working Papers 206438, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centre for Agricultural and Food Economics.
    6. Jana Schwarz & Monica Schuster & Bernd Annaert & Miet Maertens & Erik Mathijs, 2016. "Sustainability of Global and Local Food Value Chains: An Empirical Comparison of Peruvian and Belgian Asparagus," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(4), pages 1-22, April.
    7. repec:eee:ecolec:v:146:y:2018:i:c:p:658-667 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Shewmake, Sharon & Okrent, Abigail & Thabrew, Lanka & Vandenbergh, Michael, 2015. "Predicting consumer demand responses to carbon labels," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 168-180.
    9. Elofsson, Katarina & Bengtsson, Niklas & Matsdotter, Elina & Arntyr, Johan, 2016. "The impact of climate information on milk demand: Evidence from a field experiment," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 14-23.
    10. Paolo Crosetto & Anne Lacroix & Laurent Muller & Bernard Ruffieux, 2018. "Nutritional and economic impact of 5 alternative front-of-pack nutritional labels: experimental evidence," Working Papers hal-01805431, HAL.
    11. Crosetto, P. & Lacroix, A. & Muller, L. & Ruffieux, B., 2018. "Nutritional and economic impact of 5 alternative front-of-pack nutritional labels: experimental evidence," Working Papers 2018-11, Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL).
    12. repec:eee:ecolec:v:150:y:2018:i:c:p:107-121 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Kurz, Verena, 2017. "Nudging to reduce meat consumption: Immediate and persistent effects of an intervention at a university restaurant," Working Papers in Economics 712, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Food labeling; Framed field experiment; Environmental information provision; Consumer behavior;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics

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