All food trend studies highlight the growing awareness in society of the impact of the entire food production chain on the environment. This is pointed out in the latest EATrends report published by the AZTI technology centre and also in the results of a recent OCU survey, according to which 88% of consumers consider it useful for products to offer environmental information; 63% answered that they prefer to buy a product with an environmental label and 44% even say they are willing to pay more for a product or service with a verified environmental claim or label.
It is obvious, therefore, that the food industry must respond to consumers who demand a commitment on their part in their transformation towards sustainability.
AZTI’s consumer behaviour area wanted to find out how consumers behave when faced with different stimuli related to sustainability, evaluating the unconscious part of emotions when selecting one product or another.
Using eye tracking technology, the research staff of this technology centre have investigated the effect of including environmental impact labelling such as ENVIROSCORE on a fresh product such as fish. For the test, a supermarket fish section was recreated with two sections, one fresh, with whole fish, and the other refrigerated, with filleted and packaged fish. In half of the observations, the products displayed the environmental label (in different scales), while the other half did not. More than 200 consumers were encouraged to choose which product they would like to buy to consume at home.
According to the results obtained:
- 60% of consumers, looked at the ENVIROSCORE label on the packaging.
- Of these, when faced with two equal labels, one with and one without ENVIROSCORE, they judged the products with the label to be more sustainable.
- For two products with ENVIROSCORE labelling but with different ratings, they were able to identify more quickly which of the 2 labels was more sustainable than when the products did not have ENVIROSCORE labelling.
- Consumers were 15% more likely to choose the product with the lower environmental impact.
It is therefore inferred that ENVIROSCORE is proving to be a useful tool for consumers to facilitate purchasing decisions, to expand product information of interest, and to build trust in the food industry, thus responding to the demands of today’s consumers.