An ecolabel is used to indicate that a food has been produced in a way that is considered environmentally friendly. There are a broad range of labels that fall under the ecolabel category, including "various fair trade claims," and the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Program's organic labels. According to Lockeretz and Merrigan, ecolabels can also encompass issues such as farm animal welfare, decent treatment of farm workers, and authenticity of a product.
Advocates for ecolabels describe them as a tool for eco-conscious consumers to support environmentally responsible agriculture and differentiate certain products from their competition. For example, France uses the "Label Rouge" ecolabel to indicate a free-range environment for poultry, but it also provides detailed information about the producer and farm responsible for raising the so-labeled poultry.
"The practices required to earn an ecolabel may focus on environmental impacts but the accompanying social criteria associated with these labels can, for many consumers, enhance the overall taste of the food. Consumers don't just taste food, they experience it and knowing a product came from a food system that treats farmers well may well enhance its flavor," note Lockeretz and Merrigan.
Some ecolabels focus more on addressing the environmental and social impact of the seed-to-table agricultural chain, intent on changing the mainstream cycle that focuses on quantity over quality
Contact: Siobhan Gallagher