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Green menu makeover: Boost your sales with climate labelling

Carbon labels have become a hot topic in the food industry over the past years - with an increasing number of hospitality businesses including them in their sustainability action plans, and a multitude of researchers analyzing their effects on consumer behaviour.

Both experiments and real-life case studies have proved that sharing clear, contextualized carbon labels can have significant effects on the conscious or unconscious choices consumers make when buying food. 

In this article we’ll dig into the effects of carbon labels on consumer behavior and, most importantly, why food businesses should care if they want to boost sales while meeting their climate targets.

The Psychology of Carbon Labels


According to a Deloitte study, 39% of consumers are trying to conduct a more sustainable lifestyle by reducing their meat and animal products consumption. However, there is still a large portion of them who are uninformed or reluctant to change their food habits. 

In this scenario, carbon labels are proven to be among the most effective ways to nudge diners towards climate friendlier options. By implementing a climate smart menu design including carbon labeling, you and your team have the power in your hands to spread awareness and leverage psychology to encourage sustainable eating through your menu.

menu-examples

 

As a matter of fact, a recent study by researchers at the University of Würzburg showed how - when labels indicating emissions in kg CO2e are included for each dish on a menu - there can be a decrease in high-emission and an increase in low-emission dish choices. When participants in the study were given menus including carbon labels, the emissions associated with their dish choices were on average 13.5% lower per dish compared to when no carbon labeling was used.

 

emissions-reduction

 

How does carbon labeling affect consumer behavior?


Carbon labels intervene as a key predictor in climate-friendly food choices, educating diners on how their behaviors actually make an impact on the environment. In short, they help customers understand that there is a direct relationship between their food choices and GHG emissions contributing to climate change.

A European survey by IPSOS on behalf of Yara provided some significant data on consumers’ sustainable food preferences:  

 

consumers-stats

 

 

Why should food businesses care?


By now you know that implementing carbon labels has a positive impact on the planet, but what about your business? 

Once again, recent data shows how labeling can actually boost your profit significantly by engaging environmentally-concerned customers:

 

effects-stats

 

Success stories from Klimato customers


When it comes to the effect Klimato carbon labels have on consumers and sales, we like to let our customers speak for themselves. 

Numerous Klimato customers shared their feedback with us, marveling at how clients reacted to the climate labels on their menu:

  • Fan reaction has been amazing. Food sales against recent similar shows are 45% up! Just proving that being sustainable and going plant-forward can also be a smart commercial choice
    Jonathan Davies
    Managing Director at Levy UK & Ireland
  • We have definitely seen changes in customer choices due to the labels. If the customers are choosing between several dishes most of them prefer the one with the lowest climate impact, of course. So it’s only been positive reactions, really
    Petra Rörfors
    Director of Sales and Sustainability at Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, Stockholm


How can Klimato help?


At Klimato we know this well: sometimes a relatively small change can make a big difference in a business’ performance, influencing both brand image and customer loyalty and positively impacting the triple bottom line.

With the Klimato tool, your business can seamlessly calculate the climate impact of the food you serve based on ingredients, production method and country of origin. We use certified climate data to display the carbon footprint of each dish, and our user-friendly calculator helps food professionals make climate-friendly changes to the menu.

By using our menu templates or downloading climate labels based on your dishes’ emissions, you can encourage hungry guests to choose meals with lower climate impact, while at the same time boosting your sales and branding by making sustainability a key part of your communication strategy.

 


Sources:
Betz et al., 2022
Edenbrandt et al., 2021
​​Emberger Klein & Mendrad, 2017
Feucht & Zander, 2017 
Hartmann & Siegrist, 2017 
Kühne et al., 2023