Agri-marketing: Clarity needed in labelling to help consumers make sustainable choices
Mandatory labelling needed to be clear, comparative and ‘multi-criteria’ to allow consumers to make sustainable choices but the current system was not delivering. How can agri-marketing be used to improve food labelling and help consumers make the right choices?
Calling for the adoption of multi-criteria labelling, Professor Tim Lang, professor of food policy at City, University of London, said: “The current food system is in a mess, it is a policy cacophony. The evidence is not good for labelling unless consumers have had a baby or a heart attack, but it can embarrass companies about what is in their product. The drive towards sustainability means consumers do not want to know about animal welfare instead of environmental impact or social criteria because it all matters, which is why it is multi-criteria time or go bust.”
Referencing Defra’s recent consultation on food labelling, Hannah Jordan, strategic policy adviser to Defra’s Secretary of State, said consumers were interested in food from an animal welfare perspective but this did not always translate into their purchasing decisions.
She highlighted the mandatory labelling of EU and UK eggs with a ’simple grading system’ detailing the method of production being a crucial factor for the increased sale of higher-welfare eggs.
Martin Lines, chair of Nature-Friendly Farming Network, said consumers often asked where they could purchase his products.
“They recognise farmers are doing great things for the environment but are confused about how to support them,” he said. “Food labelling can deliver positive changes but we need clear, transparent, mandatory labelling systems that connect consumers to their food in an accessible way.”