Green claims and carbon footprints: how to get ahead of the regulatory curve and earn consumer trust

June 14, 2024

Do consumers trust the green claims made by food and beverage companies? A global study* commissioned by Leatherhead Food Research indicates that while many don’t, independent validation helps.

Green claims and carbon footprint regulations | Leatherhead Food Research

We surveyed consumer attitudes to carbon footprint labelling and green claims across six markets: Brazil, France, India, Singapore, the UK, and the US.

Overall, more than half (53%) of respondents said they are more likely to buy a food and beverage product if carbon footprint information is included on the label. However, a third (36%) said they did not trust the information. Most (67%) said they would only trust carbon footprints verified by an official third-party organisation.

It's a similar story for green claims made by food and beverage companies. Only 13% of consumers say they trust these claims, while almost a third (32%) express scepticism. Many (32%) say they would trust green claims more if they were checked by an independent party.

Many consumers (38%) also say they would like to see more transparency from food and beverage companies on environmental impacts, initiatives, and targets.

Get a head start on regulations: demonstrate integrity

Here at Leatherhead, we have noted that authorities are beginning to develop more interventionist policies for the substantiation of voluntary green claims on labels. Carbon labelling is also set to become more standardised in many markets. Many of the regulatory requirements are still evolving, but food and beverage companies that get a head start are likely to earn heightened consumer trust.

As Pretima Titoria, our Principal Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Consultant, explains: “Environmental sustainability can be a powerful differentiator, but any claims or information included on food and beverage product labels must be able to withstand scrutiny. The regulatory situation is dynamic, and we expect to see requirements becoming more stringent.

“In the meantime, food and beverage companies that voluntarily go the extra mile to secure robust validation could gain competitive edge. Our study shows that consumers all over the world want more sustainability information, but they don’t always trust it. Companies that work hard to earn trust in the short term are likely to enjoy better customer loyalty in the long term.”

This consumer survey was conducted for our exclusive annual report for members Developments in Sustainability Labelling Regulations. Follow the links for more information about membership and our product sustainability and product stewardship services.

* About the research | The survey referenced in this news release was conducted online between 1-11 September 2023, and the total sample size was 7,500 adults. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults in the participating countries: Brazil, France, India, Singapore, the UK, and the US.

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