Anorak News | Eco-labels, organic and green but only one thing matters: the price tag

Eco-labels, organic and green but only one thing matters: the price tag

by | 23rd, September 2021

The Guardian is interested in seeing which labels on supermarket and processed foods gets diners to change their ways and opt for the more eco-friendly product. It spots “a different type that calculates the environmental cost”, and “how it had a surprising effect on consumers”. The test was not carried out on shoppers at Aldi or Lidl, rather at the Birmingham headquarters of the UK division of the food services business Compass Group. You might have seen their lorries dropping off bland school dinners.

It’s lunchtime at a workplace cafeteria in Birmingham, and employees returning to work after months away during the coronavirus pandemic are noticing something has changed. Next to the sandwiches and hot and cold dishes is a small globe symbol, coloured green, orange or red with a letter in the centre from A to E. “Meet our new eco-labels”, a sign reads.

Researchers at Oxford University have analysed the ingredients in every food item on the menu and given the dishes an environmental impact score, vegetable soup (an A) to the lemon, spring onion, cheese and tuna bagel (an E).

But organic and fair trade and all the other foods that have extra labels advertising their niceness cost more than those that do not. You don’t need a new label when you already have the price tag. The other solution, of course, is to tax things that don’t advertise their wellness factors and make everything more expensive, forcing us to go greener and ethical – and be more middle-class. And if you can’t afford it, well, that’s because you’re just a bad person.

Posted: 23rd, September 2021 | In: News, The Consumer Comment | TrackBack | Permalink