By Christine Parker
Consumers are often encouraged to “vote with their fork” and “say no” to unhealthy, unsustainable and unfair food. Food packaging is typically littered with claims about the nutrition, ethics and social goods associated with the product inside. Claims like “organic”, “GMO free”, “fair trade”, and “anti-biotic free” are common. But can consumer preference base labelling make a difference to the health, sustainability and ethics challenges facing the food system?
Governments, civil society groups and industry all act as if label claims make a big impact on consumers and food businesses. Governments mandate that certain safety and nutritional information should be displayed on food labels. Public health advocates campaign for mandatory disclosure of more information (like added sugars) hoping it will nudge both consumers and businesses towards healthier options. Businesses use label claims to promote themselves as ethical and environmentally responsible. A plethora of other groups have put forward their own independent certifications and trademarks from dolphin friendly tuna to sustainably farmed coffee. Read More