Etiqueta ambiental universal

A survey of 10,000 consumers in 18 European countries conducted by the EIT Food Consumer Observatory makes some very interesting insights into the perception of the sustainability of the food industry. Here is a brief summary:

European consumers in favour of a universal environmental label

The study presented in October shows that more than two-thirds of European consumers say they would use a universal eco-label to help them make more sustainable choices.

The study, based on a survey of nearly 10,000 consumers in 18 European countries, found that 67% said they would use such a label, while only 13% said they would be unlikely to do so.

Although there are currently no internationally agreed standards for environmental sustainability labelling and no agreement on what sustainable production should measure, authorities are discussing the creation of a common eco-label that would inform consumers about the impact of food products on climate and society.

On the other hand, only one third of Europeans, 33%, believe that their government is transparent in regulating sustainability labels on food.

Consumers want to be better informed about the environmental footprint of their food and there is broad support for a universal, independent, fact-based label for sustainable food products. Introducing such a label – and ensuring that all eco-labels include clear and concise information – could be the best way to empower consumers to make informed choices about how what they eat impacts on the planet.

In this regard it is important to clarify that the European Commission has in recent months considered a number of proposals to crack down on misleading environmental claims, including a method to oblige companies to validate their claims through a ‘product environmental footprint’ – a methodology for calculating the environmental impact of a product over its lifetime – and a ban on introducing new public labelling schemes, unless they are developed at EU level, and private schemes that do not show greater environmental ambition than those currently on the market.

Consumer scepticism towards food companies’ sustainability claims

The research also revealed that almost two-thirds of Europeans – 63% – believe that food brands pretend their products are more sustainable than they really are.

In terms of countries, the Netherlands, Germany and Ireland are the least trusting of food brands’ green claims: 73%, 69% and 69% of consumers, respectively, believe that they pretend their products are more sustainable than they are.