Consumer Accuracy at Identifying Plant-based and Animal-based Milk Items

Food Ethics 4 (1):85-112 (2019)
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Are people are product literate enough to make informed decisions about plant-based and animal-based milk products? In 8 studies, we provide evidence that consumers do not make mistakes indicative of pervasive lack of milk product literacy. People were accurate at identifying plant-based and animal-based milk and cheese products as being plant or animal-based (74% - 84% of the time). In a more difficult task, participants were generally accurate at identifying nutritional differences between plant-based and animal-based milk and cheese products (50%–62% accuracy). We also developed the Milk Literacy Scale, which is a 12-item, validated, knowledge-based instrument that measures knowledge of differences among plant-based and animal-based milk products. The Milk Literacy Scale predicted accuracy in both identification tasks. All results were replicated in a large sample (N = 1054). These results suggest that people are generally product literate about milk products to make informed choices. The studies offer some insights into what kinds of interventions would help make people even more product literate.



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Adam Feltz
Michigan Technological University

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