Co-op, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco will test new environmental labels in a virtual setting this summer, as part of the strategic framework for a harmonized environmental labeling system.
According to a statement from the IGD, the trials, which will test consumers’ awareness and understanding of environmental labeling, are the final step in their workflow. They will also assess the impact of point-of-sale (POS) communications and how to optimize them.
Once developed, the environmental labeling scheme will provide consistent and transparent information to consumers, enabling them to make more informed choices at the point of sale, based on credible data and consistent environmental footprinting methods.
Susan Barratt, CEO of IGD, said: “We recognize that there is a growing appetite from all parts of the food system to measure and communicate the environmental impact of individual products, in order to drive positive change in food habits. consumption”.
“We also know that there is a real desire to collaborate, to champion a science-based approach to environmental labeling backed by solid consumer information.”
Retailers will test the prototype labels on recent customers, initially in a virtual store, recreated using specialist software via an online survey, to see how they react, before looking to implement them in-store.
Barratt also acknowledged that “environmental labeling is a very complex area, so the fact that we are taking a coordinated approach to building consensus across the industry, with the support of major food companies, is a step forward. incredibly important,” she added.
The project was also supported by senior industry representatives Defra and WRAP, as well as technical consultants Anthesis.
“We have worked closely with high-level representatives from industry, NGOs and technical experts […] developing an environmental labeling framework; seeing this workflow now move into the trial phase is an exciting next step,” she said.
The workflow is underpinned by rigorous consumer research, conducted by Walnut Unlimited, the first phase of which began in January 2022 to test and inform the labeling framework.
The second phase of the consumer study is currently underway, to test and inform the label design, while the third phase will take place this summer through the trials themselves.
“We want to make a positive and lasting change and we look forward to evaluating the results of these trials as they progress,” concluded the CEO of IGD.