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How we make decisions is not always down to hard facts and carefully thought through considerations. Our gut feeling or emotional leniency is often equally important. How we choose our food is no different. That is why actions to make people buy more environmentally friendly food should appeal more to our emotions and increase our knowledge about food certification schemes. This is the conclusion from a study recently published in the journal Sustainability by Stockholm university PhD student Malin Jonell together with GEDB researchers Beatrice Crona, Max Troell and colleagues from Uppsala University. The question they asked was: what influences consumers’ demand for eco-labelled seafood?

The study is unique because it goes beyond just looking at peoples’ willingness to pay for eco-labelled seafood or their attitudes towards it. Instead it looks at the correlation between consumer behaviour, psychological characteristics of the individual and knowledge on eco-labelled seafood.

”While the body of literature on consumers’ perceptions of and willingness to pay for eco-labelled seafood is growing, only few studies have looked at the links between consumer behaviour and their actual knowledge on environmental issues,” says Malin Jonell.

Consumer studies in Stockholm

The data gathering was based on 406 questionnaires completed by food shoppers in Stockholm between October and December 2013. In it, the respondents were asked to rate their knowledge and engagement in environmental issues connected to seafood production. Most participants perceived themselves to have a low or moderate level of knowledge about seafood production, however more than half or the respondents expressed concern about its negative environmental impacts.ts onseafood.

One central part of the study was to assess the consumers’ knowledge on specific eco-labels. These are private standards and certification schemes that provide seals of approval given to products that are deemed to have fewer impacts on the environment. Respondents in the survey were asked to state whether they recognised the logos of five different eco-label schemes. Apart from KRAV, a Swedish organic certification scheme, the recognition of the labels was relatively low. This included MSC, the largest seafood eco-label in Sweden. Interestingly, a fake label was included in order to discover the extent to which people actually falsely state that they recognise a label. More than one out of six of the respondents acknowledged the fake label.

”Since label recognition is one of the most important variables in predicting purchasing of eco-labelled seafood, efforts need to be directed towards increasing consumers’ familiarity with the main ones,” co-author Max Troell says.

To succeed with this, a change in tactics is needed, the researchers argue.

Less about facts more about emotions

Early models of pro-environmental behaviour stressed the significance of information and knowledge creation when trying to alter human behaviour. Although these rather simplistic models were rejected decades ago, many UN organs and NGOs still stick to them. This may to some extent influence consumers’ concern for negative environmental impacts, but it may not create long-lasting change in consumption, the researchers warn.

“Instead, we need more engaging stories that can raise the awareness about eco-labels. This will help create long-lasting pro-environmental attitudes towards eco-labelled seafood”, concludes Malin Jonell.

Read article here

Citation: Jonell, M., B. Crona, K. Brown, P. Rönnbäck and M. Troell. 2016. Eco-Labeled Seafood: Determinants for (Blue) Green Consumption. Sustainability 8(9), 884; doi:10.3390/su8090884

GEDB research database FOR WEB - Google Kalkylark#gid=0








Jonell, M., B. Crona, K. Brown, P. Rönnbäck and M. Troell. 2016. Eco-Labeled Seafood: Determinants for (Blue) Green Consumption. Sustainability 8(9), 884; doi:10.3390/su8090884








 

GEDB research database FOR WEB - Google Kalkylark#gid=0








Jonell, M., B. Crona, K. Brown, P. Rönnbäck and M. Troell. 2016. Eco-Labeled Seafood: Determinants for (Blue) Green Consumption. Sustainability 8(9), 884; doi:10.3390/su8090884









GEDB research database FOR WEB - Google Kalkylark#gid=0








Jonell, M., B. Crona, K. Brown, P. Rönnbäck and M. Troell. 2016. Eco-Labeled Seafood: Determinants for (Blue) Green Consumption. Sustainability 8(9), 884; doi:10.3390/su8090884