Climate mitigating information to consumers by food retailers

Sammanfattning: Human food consumption contributes to climate change and changing consumption patterns towards a more vegetable-based diet could decrease GHG emissions. However, such change is difficult to achieve due to ingrained habits, cultural and social norms and culinary preferences, highlighting a need to understand consumer behaviour and find efficient strategies for communicating the issue within supermarkets. To encourage a change to a more vegetable-based diet, product development is necessary for vegetables to be perceived as tasty, convenient and easy to use. However consumers revealed strong negative environmental associations to packaging of potato, which highlights the present challenges for producers wishing to use packaging to communicate positive benefits and thus increase the perceived convenience of such products. An initial analysis of actual availability of climate-mitigating information on food in supermarkets, showed that it was poorly communicated by retailers. A further investigation on information (climate friendly and organic) and atmospherics (nature sounds) revealed that nature sounds only influenced male participants’ willingness to buy (WTB) organic. It also revealed that depending on their connectedness to nature (CtN), information either raised or lowered male participants’ WTB organic or climate-friendly products. Finally, tests were performed on an informative tool, the Swedish Meat Guide, which aims to communicate the link between food and climate and to help direct food choice towards less environmentally damaging alternatives, such as vegetables. The complex concept of climate mitigating information means that the knowledge and understanding, as well as suggested actions, have to be communicated on multiple levels and by multiple stakeholders, taking into consideration the great difference in knowledge levels and motives between consumers. Climate mitigating information needs to be better promoted among food retailers and consumers. Also, other attempts to increase vegetable consumption - product development, nudging, promotional efforts - may indirectly support a climate mitigating food consumption.

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