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Toward a Sustainability Label for Food Products: An Analysis of Experts' and Consumers' Acceptance

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Abstract:

The recent proliferation of standards and labels for organic, fair-trade, locally produced, and healthy food products risks creating confusion among consumers. This study presents a standardized approach to developing a comprehensive sustainability label that incorporates ecological, economic, and social values. The methodology is based on an extension of modular life-cycle assessment to non-environmental sustainability criteria. Interviews with a wide range of experts (n = 65) and a consumer survey (n = 233) were conducted to analyze the feasibility and potential effectiveness of the approach. Responses indicated that a comprehensive sustainability label could considerably influence consumption patterns and facilitate cross-product comparisons.

Keywords: food labels; modular life-cycle assessment; public health; sustainability label; sustainable consumption

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03670240903433154

Affiliations: 1: Department of Environmental Sciences, Natural and Social Science Interface (NSSI), Zurich, Switzerland,Center for Comparative and International Studies, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland 2: Department of Environmental Sciences, Natural and Social Science Interface (NSSI), ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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