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Biases in consumers' assessment of environmental damage in food chains and how investments in reputation can help

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Luca Panzone, Professor Fred Lemke



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Sustainability is becoming increasingly relevant to consumers in their food choices. However, they may have a limited understanding of the environmental impact of their purchasing decisions and resort to perceptions and heuristics to guide them. In this study, consumers were asked to complete a categorisation task to determine whether they considered a product to have a high or low carbon footprint, with no information besides that contained on the product’s front label. The results demonstrated that raw materials (food category), transportation (UK product), and manufacturing (level of processing) influenced the probability that an item would be classified as either having a low or high carbon footprint. These findings are embedded into the supply chain to explore the role of reputation in reducing the categorisation biases observed in the categorisation task.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Panzone L, Lemke F, Petersen HL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Technological Forecasting and Social Change

Year: 2016

Volume: 111

Pages: 327-337

Print publication date: 01/10/2016

Online publication date: 19/04/2016

Acceptance date: 05/04/2016

Date deposited: 14/04/2016

ISSN (print): 0040-1625

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5509

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2016.04.008


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