Four of the UK's biggest retailers, Co-op, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, are to trial a new environmental labelling system this summer, as the food industry seeks to bolster its sustainability credentials.
The trials, which till take place in a virtual reality setting, are the latest phase of a workstream kicked off by IGD at the end of last year, which seeks to mobilise the food industry to develop a harmonised solution to environmental labelling.
A number of senior industry representatives, as well as Defra and WRAP, are also supporting the measure by way of a steering committee, as are technical consultants Anthesis.
The initial focus of the work has been on the development of a strategic framework for an environmental labelling scheme 'that will provide consistent and transparent information for consumers, enabling them to make more informed choices at point of sale', IGD said in a statement.
'A Growing Appetite'
“We recognise there is a growing appetite from all parts of the food system to measure and communicate the environmental impact of individual products, to drive positive change in consumption habits," commented Susan Barratt, chief executive, IGD.
"We also know there is a real desire for collaboration, to champion a science-based approach to environmental labelling supported by robust consumer insights. We have been working in close partnership with senior industry representatives, NGOs and technical experts over the last few months to develop an environmental labelling framework; seeing this workstream now move into the trial phase is an exciting next step.”
Following a test period for the prototype labels in a virtual reality environment, to see how customers respond, the retailers will be looking to implement this system in-store.
“Environmental labelling is a very complex area, so the fact we are taking a coordinated approach to drive consensus across the whole sector, with support from leading food companies, is an incredibly important step forward," Barratt added.