Vegan labelling of food may not persuade people to consume such food

Researchers have shown through a new study that people would prefer the labels “healthy,” “sustainable,” or “healthy and sustainable” over “vegan” when it comes to selecting such food for consumption. Researchers showed that “vegan” or “plant-based” food labels aren’t having the desired impact on adoption of non-dairy and non-meat food.

It has long been established through multiple studies that limiting meat and dairy intake and eating more fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Diets with less meat and dairy are also more environmentally sustainable because they have a smaller carbon footprint.

The study by researchers at Baruch College – CUNY and their colleagues from the University of Southern California showed through the study that food without meat and dairy was less likely to be chosen when its label focused on its content (stating “vegan” or “plant-based”) rather than its benefits (stating “healthy”, “sustainable” or both). Findings indicate that 42% of participants chose the food without meat and dairy when it was labeled “healthy,” 43% chose it when it was labeled “sustainable,” and 44% chose it when it was labeled “healthy and sustainable” as compared to 20% of participants who chose the food without meat and dairy when it was labeled “vegan,” while 27% chose it when it was labeled “plant-based.”

This labeling effect was especially pronounced among individuals who identified as red-meat eaters and held across socio-demographic groups. Thus, changing labels is a low-cost scalable intervention for promoting healthy and environmentally sustainable food choices.

In this study, all participants where asked to choose between a food gift basket without meat and dairy and another with meat and dairy. Participants were randomly assigned to one of five conditions, in which the gourmet food gift basket without meat and dairy was labeled as “vegan,” “plant-based,” “healthy,” “sustainable,” or “healthy and sustainable.”

Ravi Mandalia

Ravi has a masters degree in computer science with specialisation in Network Security and Compliances. He has been at the helm of many news portals and Indian Science is his latest venture.

Related Articles

Back to top button