Eco-Labels Aren’t Helping To Boost Sales Of Sustainable Seafood·
How does labelling products and putting up signs in stores affect consumer choices, especially toward encouraging consumers to buy sustainable seafood? When researchers tested how ecolabels for sustainably harvested seafood would affect shopping choices in Germany and Norway, they found that customers bought significantly more seafood overall—including options that were not sustainably harvested.
The label for sustainably harvested seafood is a small blue and white fish logo on the packaging of fish products bought in the store. This is the ecolabel of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which denotes wild-caught fish and seafood, and a promise that the product was harvested using sustainable fishing practices.
The ecolabel is used all over the world, with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) among the first to establish its use in order to reverse the decline in important fish stocks.
However, it turns out that product labelling alone is not enough to change shopping habits. Surveys show that price and taste matter most to people when they buy seafood—and research also shows that they largely allow social norms to govern their choices when shopping. In other words, people tend to buy the same products as their friends and family members.
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