Climate impact labels could help promote sustainable food choices: study

Read the full story from The Hill.

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.

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