Does better for the environment mean less tasty? Offering more climate-friendly meals is good for the environment and customer satisfaction
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Food consumption comprises a significant portion of the total environmental impact of households. One way to reduce this impact may be to offer consumers more climate-friendly meal choices, such as when eating out. However, the environmental benefits of such an intervention will depend on not only consumers' liking of the climate-friendlier meals, but also on the perceived environmental impact. We therefore investigated the relationship between the global warming potential (GWP) of and consumers' liking of meals in two field studies in the same restaurant. Visitors to the restaurant were asked to rate the taste of the meal they had just consumed. These taste ratings were then related to the meals' GWP and number of purchases. In the second study, an intervention was tested consisting of a climate-friendly choice label and information posters. Contrary to expectations, it was found in both studies that the GWP of the meals was unrelated to the taste or the number of purchases. Offering more climate-friendly meals did not change consumer satisfaction. As expected, the introduction of the climate-friendly choice label increased the number of climate-friendly meal purchases. Therefore, offering more climate-friendly meals with a climate-friendly choice label can affect consumers' meal choices, but not their preferences or satisfaction, which is beneficial for the climate, consumers and gastronomic establishments.