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Don’t call me vegan: People more likely to go meatless if food labelled ‘sustainable’ instead | Climate News

People are more likely to pick a meat-free option if it’s not labelled vegan, a study suggests.

Foods described as “healthy”, “sustainable” or “plant-based” are all more appealing, according to the University of Southern California.

Its research saw more than 7,000 people asked to choose between a vegan food basket and one with meat and dairy.

The former was randomly labelled “vegan”, “plant-based”, “healthy”, “sustainable” or “healthy and sustainable”.

The experiment found people were more likely to select it when the focus was on its benefits (such as “sustainable”) rather than its content, though “plant-based” was still more popular than “vegan”.

Only 20% picked the basket without meat and dairy when it was labelled “vegan,” and 27% when it was labelled “plant-based.”

By contrast, 42% of participants opted for it when it was labelled “healthy”, 43% when it was “sustainable”, and 44% when it was described as “healthy and sustainable”.

The trend was especially evident among people who identified as red-meat eaters.

Read more:
As a bad veggie who breaks the rules, is lab-grown meat the answer?

Researchers said changing packaging on meat and dairy-free products, which often proudly tout their vegan status, could result in more people selecting them more often.

Vegan options have grown in popularity in the UK in recent years, though major brand Beyond Meat has experienced plunging revenues this year as the cost of living crisis hits demand.

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