Consumer Attitudes towards Sustainability Attributes on Food Labels
Concerns about climate change and the general status of the environment have increased expectation that food products have sustainability credentials, and that these can be verified. There are significant and increasing pressures in key export markets for information on Greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity of products throughout its life-cycle. How this information is conveyed to consumers is a key issue. Labelling is a common method of communicating certain product attributes to consumers that may influence their choices. In a choice experiment concerning fruit purchase decisions, this study estimates willingness to pay for sustainability attributes by consumers in Japan and the UK. The role of label presentation format is investigated: text only, text and graphical, and graphical only. Results indicate that sustainability attributes influence consumers’ fruit purchase decisions. Reduction of carbon in fruit production is shown to be the least valued out of sustainability attributes considered. Differences are evident between presentation formats and between countries, with increased nutrient content being the most sensitive to format and country while carbon reduction is the most insensitive and almost always valued the least.
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