A combined Nutri-Score and 'Eco-Score' approach for more nutritious and more environmentally friendly food choices? Evidence from a Belgian consumer experiment [post]

Michiel De Bauw, Christophe Matthys, Veerle Poppe, Liesbet Vranken
2021 unpublished
The application of Nutri-Score on food products is ubiquitous throughout Europe and studies demonstrating its potential to stimulate healthier food choices are accumulating. At the same time, there remains a strong need to evenly harmonize and activate the communication of environmental impacts on food products, in synergy with the Nutri-Score. This brings up the question of whether the potential of Nutri-Score could be expanded to a similar 'Eco-Score' and equivalently encourage more
more » ... tally friendly food choices. The present study investigated the effect of a combined NutriScore and Eco-Score on the nutritional quality and environmental impact of consumers' food choices. This effect was compared to, on the one hand, dietary recommendations (both general and specific) and on the other hand, more detailed impact tables. Since visual distraction often plays a role in informative persuasion, the treatments were evaluated subject to different levels of distraction. A randomized control trial was conducted with a representative sample of 805 Belgian consumers in a mock-up E-grocery environment. Respondents were randomly allocated to treatments in which they were asked to hypothetically buy ingredients to prepare one meal. An average nutritional quality index (NQI) and environmental impact index (EII) of the selected baskets were calculated to evaluate outcomes. We find that a joint Nutri-Score and Eco-Score label improves the NQI but not the EII. The general- and specific recommendation as well as the detailed information also improved the NQI. However, the specific recommendation was the only treatment that also improved the EII. We find mild indications that the effectiveness of Nutri-Score is affected by the nearby presence of food product images. This study provided some first evidence and support for the use of dual Nutri-Score – Eco-Score label to induce transitions towards healthier and more sustainable diets. We also find that recommendations outside the classic Front-Of-Package label framework are also a promising way to realize such transition. However, the effect in real E-groceries and on longer terms remains to be explored.
doi:10.31219/osf.io/evzyf fatcat:seduzrsupncyrpr3jqelavcvi4