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Food Label experiment

Imagine you are a green Belgian consumer, which of the tomatoes would you judge to be more eco-friendly?


You can try to gather relevant information online to calculate the total impacts and make a deliberate choice. But the truth is that there are too many factors to be taken into account. Most people would fall back on the heuristic (rule of thumb) of “organic and local food is more eco-friendly” to judge and choose Tomato 1 – the local and organic one, which is a good judgment in most cases but not here as Tomato 1 is produced in a greenhouse and consumes overall more energy than the outdoor grown non-local Tomato 2.

To alleviate this occasional bias, suppose we could replace the default labels by either the raw information label on the left or the one on the right. Which one would you find more informative?

Note: as it turned out, while installing the raw information label had little impact on average green consumption compared to the original label, installing the label with an overall eco-friendliness score (0: very unfriendly, 10: very eco-friendly) as shown on the right increased eco-friendly consumption by 5.3% (Vlaeminck et al., 2014)