Encouraging Sustainable Food Consumption by Using More-Appetizing Language

Encouraging Sustainable Food Consumption by Using More-Appetizing Language. World Resources Institute. Daniel Vennard, Toby Park and Sophie Attwood. February 2019

Encouraging consumers to shift to primarily vegetarian diets is one way to lower the environmental impact of food. This two-phase online study explored the impact of the language used to describe vegetarian food on consumer choice. Phase one involved a consumer preference test to identify appealing alternative names for vegetarian dishes. In phase two, a randomized controlled trial determined the impact of these alternative names on dish choice in a mocked-up menu context.


Experiential and indulgent language to describe vegetarian dishes led to significant increases in the preference of plant-based items. Conversely, the term “meat-free” consistently discouraged consumers from choosing vegetarian dishes. These findings provide initial evidence that it is possible to shift non-vegetarians to eat more plant-based dishes by changing how these are described, with indulgent language out-performing other language categories. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 16 pages].

Advertisements

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Categorical Eligibility

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Categorical Eligibility.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Randy Alison Aussenberg, Gene Falk. June 22, 2018

 The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides benefits to low-income, eligible households on an electronic benefit transfer card; benefits can then be exchanged for foods at authorized retailers. SNAP reaches a large share of low-income households. In FY2017, a monthly average of 42.2 million persons in 20.9 million households participated in SNAP. 

 [PDF format, 22 pages].

How Language Can Advance Sustainable Diets: A Summary of Expert Perspectives on How Research into the Language of Plant-based Food Can Change Consumption

How Language Can Advance Sustainable Diets: A Summary of Expert Perspectives on How Research into the Language of Plant-based Food Can Change Consumption. World Resources Institute. Daniel Vennard, Jonathan Wise and Linda Bacon. June 2018

 Food production significantly impacts the environment, but different types of food have different effects. Generally, producing meat, especially from ruminants (cattle, sheep, and goats), uses more land and water and emits more greenhouse gases than producing plant-based foods. Therefore, in countries with high meat consumption, shifting diets to include more plant-based foods and less meat can reduce agriculture’s pressure on natural resources.

One potentially high-impact but low-cost strategy to help consumers shift their diets is changing the language used to describe food. Existing research has shown that how food is described influences what people choose, and that many plant-based dishes have names that are not appealing to people who normally eat meat. However, this area is nascent. More research can reveal the potential of improved language to drive consumption of plant-based foods. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 16 pages].

The Antipoverty Effects of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

The Antipoverty Effects of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Urban Institute. Laura Wheaton, Victoria Tran. February 15, 2018

 The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which helps millions of poor and low-income Americans purchase food, is the nation’s largest nutrition assistance program. This analysis estimates SNAP’s effect on poverty using the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). The authors augment the Census Bureau’s SPM to correct for the underreporting of SNAP and other means-tested benefits in the underlying survey data. They  find that SNAP removed 8.4 million people from poverty in 2015, reducing the poverty rate from 15.4 percent to 12.8 percent (a reduction of 17 percent). SNAP reduced the poverty gap (the aggregate amount of additional income required to remove all poor families from poverty) by $35 billion (21 percent) in 2015. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 52 pages].

What’s on Your Table? How America’s Diet Has Changed Over the Decades

What’s on Your Table? How America’s Diet Has Changed Over the Decades. Pew Research Center. Drew DeSilver. December 13, 2016

How do Americans really eat, and how has that changed over time? The author analyzed data from the USDA’s Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System, or FADS, to find out. (Specifically, he used food availability adjusted for waste, spoilage and other loss as a proxy for consumption.) While the nation’s eating habits don’t change all that much from year to year, looking at them over 40 or more years shows some significant changes. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format, various paging].

Food Security Post-2015: What Countries Need to Do So That Regional Collaboration Can Be Effective

Food Security Post-2015: What Countries Need to Do So That Regional Collaboration Can Be Effective. Center for Global Development. C. Peter Timmer. July 31, 2015.

The author explains why ending hunger has been so hard. The essay focuses on four main themes: the complex role of markets, the importance of government policies, the historical process of structural transformation, and the need to identify the appropriate time horizon for analysis and interventions. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 5 pages, 122.5 KB].