Unsustainable burgers? Deploying carbon footprint labels to enhance sustainability perceptions of animal-based food products

Ming Yang Avon Ang, Nicolas Pontes and Cassandra France
Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services
Resource type:
Peer review

Environmental sustainability stands at the forefront of global issues, with many consumers changing their habits to reduce their carbon footprint. A prime example is the cutback in meat consumption and increased adoption of a plant-based diet by consumers across the globe. This research examines this phenomenon and considers the impact of the carbon footprint label in shifting consumers’ perceptions of environmental sustainability of plant-based and animal-based food products; identifying implications for purchase intent. Additionally, the research explores how the effect varies with different levels of consumer perceived believability

. A study of 605 online Proflific participants from the US provided data for analysis using PROCESS macro in SPSS. Results indicate that as perceived believability increases, a carbon footprint label has an increasingly positive effect on perceived environmental sustainability for animal-based products but not for products derived from plant protein. We add to current theory and practice by examining emerging nuances in plant-based food consumption, identifying a halo effect for plant-based foods that impact consumer perceptions derived from package labels.


  • Carbon footprint (CF) label impacts plant-versus animal-based foods differently.

  • Perceived believability moderates the effect of CF label on perceived sustainability.

  • Perceived environmental sustainability mediates effect of CF label on purchase intentions.

  • Halo effect for plant-based product takes precedence over the effect of CF label.


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This resource has been peer reviewed