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Conference paper - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Climate labelling and the importance of increased vegetable consumption

Ekelund Axelson, Lena; Spendrup, Sara


Nearly a third of the climate change impacts attributed to human consumption are believed to be caused by food and drink. Climate communication and marketing efforts have been the focus of an interdisciplinary research exploring how food retailers, in their unique intermediary role between producers and consumers, could guide consumers’ food choices in a more climate-friendly direction, with examples mainly from Sweden. Consumers are not aware of what actions are the most important from a climate point of view. A guide to more climate friendly protein choices (meat guide) was created within the project, with the aim of developing a way of informing about the environmental impacts of meat and other sources of protein. While food waste was considered an important issue, climate effects of transportation and packaging was of greater concern to the consumers in the study, who found it more important to buy local and seasonal food, and organic products, than to choose vegetarian alternatives. Observational studies in European stores, as well as interviews with representatives of Swedish supermarkets, revealed that direct climate messages were scarce. A recommendation to supermarkets is to promote vegetarian choices in store and develop the fruit and vegetable department. A novel suggestion is to encourage retailers to build on ambiguous categories and indirect messages, in particular local, seasonal and organic, in communicating climate mitigating behaviour and promote an increase in consumption of vegetables.


Food consumption, climate change, vegetables, meat guide

Published in

Acta Horticulturae
2016, Volume: 1132, number: 1132, pages: 191-197
Book title: Proceedings of the XVIII International Symposium on Horticultural Economics and Management
ISBN: 978-94-62611-11-5
Publisher: International Society for Horticultural Science


18th International Symposium on Horticultural Economics and Management

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