Cornhusker Economics

Cornhusker Economics

Is Less More in Food Safety Information Provision?

The development of several niche food markets has been enabled by labels highlighting the existence of desirable or the absence of undesirable food attributes and/or production technologies, effectively targeting consumers willing to pay for this type of information. Examples include the “All Natural,” “No growth promoting antibiotic,” “No GMOs,” and “Cage-free” food labels. In what could be viewed as an extreme example of labeling what is absent, consumers can now purchase gluten-free water (McFadden 2017). This type of ‘redundant’ labeling seeks to exploit uninformed consumers.

In contrast, labeling what is present can be more challenging. This is especially true for foods produced with unique food safety enhancing processes. How can such technologies be effectively communicated on food labels, and how much information should be provided on a label to substantiate food safety claims when, despite consumer expectation of and demand for safer food, consumers may be apprehensive and/or uninformed about these technologies?

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2017 Cornhusker Economics

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