Sustainable food: can food labels make consumers switch to meat substitutes?
Using a stated preference survey, we investigate whether the introduction of a set of food labels affects consumers´ willingness to make costly shifts from meat products to meat substitutes. We investigate the role of food labels relating to health, use of antibiotics, climate impact, and animal care. We find that climate and healthiness labeling of substitutes increases the likelihood that consumers will switch to such products. We also find that labeling of the meat option can play an important role when choosing a food product. Labels concerning animal care, antibiotics use, and healthiness are all important for consumers’ choices, while a climate impact label placed on meat plays a smaller role. If meat is produced with severe restrictions on antibiotics use and the producers guarantee a high level of animal care, consumers will generally, all else equal, prefer the meat alternative. Twenty-five percent of the respondents are not willing to choose anything other than meat in the experiment. This subset of consumers are probably very difficult to influence. We find, however, that making a meat substitute taste more like meat is a key factor for those with limited experience of consuming soy products.
JEL-classification: Q18, Q51