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Appetite. 2007 Jul;49(1):47-57. Epub 2007 Jan 12.

Food and sustainability: do consumers recognize, understand and value on-package information on production standards?

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Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1087, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


We tested how consumers recognize, understand and value on-package information about food production methods that may contribute to a more sustainable agriculture. Nine copy tests were formed, each containing one out of three products and one out of three panels of information. The products were (1) fillet of chicken, (2) semi-skimmed milk and (3) fillet of salmon. The panels of information were (a) a certified organic logo and details about the animal welfare standards of organic products, (b) just the logo, or (c) a statement in which the product was attributed to the world market. About 371 customers of a supermarket in the city of Amsterdam filled in a questionnaire, which included a subset of three copy tests. The results showed that many consumers did not realize that the organic logo already covers all the standards. They were inclined to underestimate the distinctive advantage of the logo; products with logo and details got higher ratings of positive attributes but were also considered more expensive. As a consequence, the detailed information panels enabled consumers to choose more in agreement with their personal values but the net impacts on purchase intentions were small.

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