Anne-Catherine Betz and her colleagues from the Julia Maximilian University of Würzburg, Germany, present these findings in an open access journal
Previous research has shown that a person’s food choices significantly affect his or her personal carbon footprint. However, most studies examining the factors that influence the choice of environmentally important foods have focused on buying foods that are eaten at home.
To broaden the understanding, Betz and his colleagues explored how restaurant menu design could influence climate-dependent visitor choices.
They created nine hypothetical menus to test two approaches to design: carbon labels showing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions associated with each dish, and – for dishes with components that can be changed – set the default component to low or high. -ejection option.
Influence of carbon labels on food choices
In an online study, 256 volunteers chose one dish from each of the nine hypothetical menus that differed in cuisine, availability of changeable dishes, default climate options, and availability of carbon labels.
One example of such a dish was Fr.
couscous salad, which can be ordered with beef (high emissions), shawarma (poultry mint; medium emissions) or falafel (low emissions).
This seems to be the first published study that simultaneously examines the impact of default settings and carbon labels on food choices.
Statistical analysis of the results showed that participants chose more climatic dishes when carbon labels were present, and when by default there were options with low rather than high emissions.
These findings are consistent with previous studies that examined the two approaches separately.
These findings suggest this
Restaurant operators can use both carbon labels and low-emission default options to reduce the carbon footprint of their business.
Meanwhile, researchers note that more research is needed to inform such strategies, including studies of the interaction between the two approaches, the impact of personal habits such as vegetarianism, menu selection and menu selection in real life.
The authors add: “If we want more climatic visits to restaurants, highlighting the components of a dish on the menu can really be an important parameter because it shows that it is normal and recommended. It can also be one of the easiest things owners can do restaurants. “