The green halo: Mechanisms and limits of the eco-label effect

Sörqvist, Patrik, Haga, Andreas, Langeborg, Linda, Holmgren, Mattias, Wallinder, Maria, Nöstl, Anatole, Seager, Paul B orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3638-8057 and Marsh, John Everett orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9494-1287 (2015) The green halo: Mechanisms and limits of the eco-label effect. Food Quality and Preference, 43 . pp. 1-9. ISSN 0950-3293

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Consumers believe that “eco-labeled” products taste better, which, at least in part, may be an effect of the label. The purpose of the current series of experiments was to examine some mechanisms and limits of this eco-label effect. In Experiment 1, an eco-label effect of similar magnitude was found for taste ratings of both conventional and organic bananas. Experiment 2 showed eco-label effects for a wider range of judgmental dimensions (i.e., health, calories, vitamins/minerals, mental performance, and willingness to pay) and the effect was about the same in magnitude for judgments of grapes and raisins. Experiment 3, with water as the tasted product, found no eco-label effect on judgments of taste, calories and vitamins/minerals, but an effect on willingness to pay, judgments of health benefits and judgments of mental performance benefits. Experiments 2 and 3 also included questionnaires on social desirability traits, schizotypal traits and pro-environmental consumer traits. The last was the strongest predictor of the eco-label effect amongst the three. In all, the eco-label effect is a robust phenomenon, but depends on interactions between product type and judgmental dimension. Implications for several accounts of the effect are discussed.

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