In this file:


·         Carbon Labeling Gains Momentum Despite Challenges

Climatarians Rising


·         Here’s one way we can get people to choose more climate-friendly foods

Even some people who didn’t want to know the environmental impact of their food were convinced to make a more sustainable swap.



Carbon Labeling Gains Momentum Despite Challenges


Grace Garwood, The Food Institute

Apr 6, 2021


Unilever plans to introduce carbon-footprint details for all 70,000 of its products and is researching best methods for gathering and presenting the information. A key motivator for the company is that brands perceived as sustainable are experiencing faster sales growth, according to the Wall Street Journal (April 1).


Food companies of all sizes, ranging from Quorn, PepsiCo and Nestle, to Swedish oat-drink maker Oatly, have been implementing carbon rating programs. The trend has also spread to the food service industry through restaurants like Just Salad, Panera and Chipotle.


Climatarians Rising


The movement toward eating for planetary health has been gaining traction for several years. The term “climatarian” first surfaced on The New York Times Top New Food Words list in 2015. Climatarian diets aim to reduce the consumer’s carbon footprint by eating locally produced food) choosing pork and poultry instead of beef and lamb (to limit gas emissions), and using every part of ingredients (apple cores, cheese rinds) to limit food waste.


Just Salad was the first QSR in the United States to offer a carbon labeled menu. In a recent Food Institute Podcast, Sandra Noonan, Just Salad’s chief sustainability officer, noted that sales of food items on their curated climatarian menu increased 126% week over week when it was launched...


Carbon Labeling Challenges ...


Prioritizing Transparency ...


Additional Resources ...


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Here’s one way we can get people to choose more climate-friendly foods

Even some people who didn’t want to know the environmental impact of their food were convinced to make a more sustainable swap.


By Kristin Toussaint, Fast Company

Apr 2, 3021


When you’re shopping in the frozen food section or perusing the menu at a fast-casual chain, you might see a carbon footprint label alongside a product’s ingredients or price. For a growing number of companies, carbon labels are a way to spur more environmentally friendly purchases—such as getting you to pick a plant-based meat over actual beef. But does learning how much carbon you’re putting into the atmosphere really affect your shopping decisions? Well, it turns out it does, even for those who’d rather not know.


In a study recently published in the journal Food Policy, researchers at the University of Copenhagen and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences looked at how carbon labels on food influenced consumer choice, and whether or not consumers even wanted to know the carbon footprint of their food.


First, they asked more than 800 Swedish participants to choose between different products, including beef, a mixture of beef and beans, chicken, or a meat substitute—none of which had labels about their environmental impact. Then, the participants were asked if they wanted to know the climate impact of those items; one in three responders said no. These “information avoiders” are emblematic of a common human behavior that scientists call “active information avoidance.” Many of us would rather not know, for example, how many calories are in the bag of chips we just finished. Or, in this case, how your favorite hamburger might be poisoning the planet.


“Our food consumption has a fairly large CO2 footprint, so it is an interesting and important product to study,” says Jonas Nordström, an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen who coauthored the study. Food production accounts for a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, and despite the trend toward eating local, what you eat matters more than where it came from. Unfortunately, for many consumers, ignorance is bliss...


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