Have you ever seen yourself as the eco-conscious type? Well, you might be, according to a recent study. The study, led by University of Sydney and Duke University researchers, shows that even though most people grossly underestimate the carbon footprint of their food buys, they are likelier to shop around for more environmentally-friendly options if that information is made clear on the label. The study was published in the journal, Nature Climate Change.
More on the study
Researchers asked 1000 people to guess the amount of energy consumed when eating 19 different foods and using 18 different electrical appliances, as well as the amount of greenhouse gas they produce.
The results showed that the participants greatly underestimated the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from both the foods and the appliances and that this effect was more notable with the foods.
Dr Adrian Camilleri, the study’s lead author, explained the results by saying that people are not as likely to think about their food choices when trying to reduce their carbon footprint. Instead, they might opt to make other changes to their lifestyles by doing things like driving less, flying less, or turning off the heater.
He also said that people tend to underestimate the difference between the environmental effects of choosing dishes made with vegetables as opposed to those made with high carbon-footprint meats like beef. This is despite the fact that, according to him, choosing a beef dish such as beef soup produces 10 times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions as vegetable soup.
Would it make a difference if people knew the environmental effects of their choices?
The researchers answered that question by presenting a selection of soups to 120 participants and seeing which ones they bought. They also tested whether putting carbon-footprint labels on them made a difference.
They found that when the soups bore the labels, the participants were more likely to choose vegetable soups over beef ones.
Would you like to see these labels on Qatari supermarket shelves? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181217120027.htm | By Tesneem Ayoub