Consumers rate “eco-friendly” coffee as tasting better

Note: analysis based on my Behavioral Orchestration and Analysis framework explained here.


Sörqvist P, Hedblom D, Holmgren M, Haga A, Langeborg L, Nöstl A, et al. (2013) Who Needs Cream and Sugar When There Is Eco-Labeling? Taste and Willingness to Pay for “Eco-Friendly” Coffee. PLoS ONE 8(12): e80719. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080719


  • Finding if labelling coffee as eco-friendly affected the perceived taste of it

Changes implemented

Choice Architecture

Contextual persuasion and copy elements
  • One cup of coffee was labeled as “eco-friendly”, classic use of halo effect


  • Consumers perceived it as tasting better and willing to pay more for it


Full abstract:

Participants tasted two cups of coffee, decided which they preferred, and then rated each coffee. They were told (in lure) that one of the cups contained “eco-friendly” coffee while the other did not, although the two cups contained identical coffee. In Experiments 1 and 3, but not in Experiment 2, the participants were also told which cup contained which type of coffee before they tasted. The participants preferred the taste of, and were willing to pay more for, the “eco-friendly” coffee, at least those who scored high on a questionnaire on attitudes toward sustainable consumer behavior (Experiment 1). High sustainability consumers were also willing to pay more for “eco-friendly” coffee, even when they were told, after their decision, that they preferred the non-labeled alternative (Experiment 2). Moreover, the eco-label effect does not appear to be a consequence of social desirability, as participants were just as biased when reporting the taste estimates and willingness to pay anonymously (Experiment 3). Eco labels not only promote a willingness to pay more for the product but also lead to a more favorable perceptual experience of it.