The Impact of Environmental Sustainability Labels on Willingness-to-Pay for Foods: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Discrete Choice Experiments
Bastounis A., Buckell J., Hartmann-Boyce J., Cook B., King S., Potter C., Bianchi F., Rayner M., Jebb SA.
Food production is a major contributor to environmental damage. More environmentally sustainable foods could incur higher costs for consumers. In this review, we explore whether consumers are willing to pay (WTP) more for foods with environmental sustainability labels (‘ecolabels’). Six electronic databases were searched for experiments on consumers’ willingness to pay for ecolabelled food. Monetary values were converted to Purchasing Power Parity dollars and adjusted for country-specific inflation. Studies were meta-analysed and effect sizes with confidence intervals were calculated for the whole sample and for pre-specified subgroups defined as meat-dairy, seafood, and fruits-vegetables-nuts. Meta-regressions tested the role of label attributes and demographic characteristics on participants’ WTP. Forty-three discrete choice experiments (DCEs) with 41,777 participants were eligible for inclusion. Thirty-five DCEs (n = 35,725) had usable data for the meta-analysis. Participants were willing to pay a premium of 3.79 PPP$/kg (95%CI 2.7, 4.89, p ≤ 0.001) for ecolabelled foods. WTP was higher for organic labels compared to other labels. Women and people with lower levels of education expressed higher WTP. Ecolabels may increase consumers’ willingness to pay more for environmentally sustainable products and could be part of a strategy to encourage a transition to more sustainable diets.