Is low carbon footprint a selling point for you? Quorn Foods is going to find out.
Just as we’ve gotten used to “low-gluten,” “all-natural” and “non-GMO,” the meat-substitue company is adding a “low-carbon footprint” claim to its labels. The move, starting in June, may prompt competitors to follow suit, according to Fast Company. The labels will first appear chickenless nuggets, sausages, fish-less fillets and ultimate burgers, then expand to the company’s entire line of products in 2021.
Food production is a major source of greenhouse gases, accounting for nine percent of the U.S. total emissions, the EPA says. With planting, harvesting and other agricultural processes producing vast amounts of greenhouse gases, Quorn’s touting of its products’ small carbon footprint may help it stand out among other meat alternatives.
The company has partnered with Carbon Trust to independently audit and demonstrate the environmental credentials of its products since 2012, but this year is the first it will share the information with consumers.
“The carbon footprint for the full lifecycle of this product is 0.16kg per serving,” the label says on the Quorn’s packaging, which is a bit lost in a slew of other disclosures.
How Quorn’s effort will be received by the public skeptical of ethical labeling remains to be seen.
While more than half of Americans stop buying from brands they believe are unethical, half of them also agree that marketing products as ethical is just a way for companies to manipulate consumers, according to 2015 research from Mintel, a market intelligence consumer company. The same research found that 68% of U.S. consumers are often confused about what certain ethical icons mean.
There’s no question that Quorn aims to reduce the environmental impact of food production. Quorn’s beef-alternative products, for example, can have a carbon footprint up to 13 times lower than beef, and chicken-alternative products up to four times lower than chicken, according to Carbon Trust.
What may be more helpful to conscious consumers is that Quorn also provides some context, comparing the CO2 level of its products with that of other types of food, including fruits, veggies and meat through a graphic of a shopping basket.