The effects of environmental information and observability on food choice

Astrid Dannenberg (University of K)

November 22, 2021, 11:00–12:15


Environment Economics Seminar


Our choice of food has major impacts on the environment. At the same time, it is visible to all people with whom we spend our daily lives. This raises the question of whether people are adapting their diets to gain a green reputation, as has been observed for other environmentally relevant consumption choices. Using an experiment in which participants can choose between vegan, vegetarian, and meat-based foods, we examine how the provision of environmental information and observation by others influence choices. The results show that the provision of environmental information reduces the choices of meat by 13 percentage points. Observability tends to reduce meat choices, but the effect is small and statistically significant only for certain groups. Somewhat surprisingly, when participants are informed about environmental consequences and observed, they are less inclined to choose one of the meatless options.