Vegan: "Plant-based" packaging makes meat eaters less likely to buy vegan food, research suggests

The packaging on vegan food has a huge impact on who buys it. (Picture: Adobe Stock)The packaging on vegan food has a huge impact on who buys it. (Picture: Adobe Stock)
The packaging on vegan food has a huge impact on who buys it. (Picture: Adobe Stock) | Adobe Stock
Thousands of people took part in the study - with almost 90 per cent being meat eaters.

Carnivores are less likely to buy foods that are packaged up as being "plant based" or "vegan", new research suggests.

A study from the University of Southern California has found that there is a correlation between the packaging of vegan food and the likelihood of encouraging meat eaters to buy it. When the food is labeled as being "vegan" there is only a 20 per cent uptake from supermarket shelves - but when the same food is packaged up as being "healthy" or "sustainable" 44 per cent of people would put it into their baskets.

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The study has been presented to the Society for Risk Analysis 2023 Annual conference, where 7,341 participants chose between a food gift basket without meat and dairy and another with meat and dairy. Participants were randomly assigned one of the five labels above for their meat and dairy free choice.

Dr Patrycja Sleboda from City University of New York, who led the study, said: "This labelling effect was especially pronounced among individuals who identified as red-meat eaters and held across socio-demographic groups. Thus, changing labels is a low-cost scalable intervention for promoting healthy and environmentally sustainable food choices."

Roughly 86 per cent of participants identified themselves as meat eaters, with 15 per cent being vegetarian and seven per cent being vegan.

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