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Labels placed on fast food items highlighting their high climate impact may sway consumers to make more sustainable choices, new study results show.
Food accounts for around one-third of all human-made greenhouse gas emissions, while animal-based foods like red meat and dairy products make up a large proportion of these emissions.
Researchers carried out a randomized clinical trial with more than 5,000 participants to determine whether calling attention to red meat’s climate impact could change consumer menu selections.
Individuals were shown a sample online fast food menu and asked to select an item for dinner.
A control group received a menu with a quick response code label on all items and no climate labels. Another group received a menu with green low-climate impact labels, positively framing options like fish, chicken, or vegetarian options. The third group received a menu with red high-climate labels on items containing red meat, negatively framing the options.
Results showed 23 percent more participants in the high climate label group ordered a sustainable, non-red meat option, and 10 percent more in the low-climate group ordered a sustainable option, compared with controls.