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Climate Change

Over 60% of Americans think foods should have ‘carbon footprint’ labels



An overwhelming nine in 10 Americans are trying to engage in sustainable practices on a daily basis, according to new research.

The survey, which asked 2,002 people about their attitudes toward climate change, found that three-quarters of respondents agree climate change is an existential threat to future generations.

Millennials were the most concerned, with 80% responding yes, compared to just 71% of Gen Z respondents.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Airly Foods, the poll still found that there is something of a knowledge gap when it comes to the topic.

Despite almost seven in 10 saying they think they know the definition of the term "carbon footprint," only half could identify the correct definition.

But that didn't stop them from agreeing that the carbon footprint of the food they eat is a priority; 62% said they would love to see packaged foods come with a carbon footprint label alongside the traditional one listing nutrition.

This would likely make an impact on how many people are able to prioritize low carbon footprint when choosing snacks, as currently only 23% say they're able to do this.

West coast residents are most likely to do research regarding the impact their snacks have on the planet, with 40% saying they do this — three times more than the 12% from the midwest who do the same.

A quarter of all respondents would consider trying a packaged snack they'd never had before if it had information claiming to remove greenhouse gases from the air.

And one in five would try a new snack if it boasted of its carbon neutral farming practices.

“Consumers want to support companies that are choosing to do the right thing,” said Airly Foods cofounder Jennifer McKnight. “Just as they read nutrition labels to understand the potential impacts on their personal health, they should also have information about a product’s carbon footprint so they can understand its impact on the planet’s health."

There are plenty more opportunities around the home to practice sustainability besides snacking, of course.

Of all the rooms in the house, respondents said they’re the most sustainable and eco-friendly in the kitchen (53%), while the home office (14%) is where they do the least.

But it's the kitchen where they're really putting in effort; popular interventions include freezing fruit and vegetables before they go bad, buying in bulk to reduce packaging waste and planning meals ahead of time to cut down on food wastage. 

But while more than half (52%) of respondents said they think about the impact that the food they eat has on the planet, many feel that their individual efforts are not enough. 

Fifty-nine percent of respondents believe corporations (30%) or governments (29%) should be doing the most to tackle climate change, compared to just 26% who said it's up to individuals.

More notably, 70% of those polled believe it’s food companies that should be coming up with innovations to reduce their impact on the planet. 

“Climate change is a colossal challenge, but even the smallest steps when taken by all can add up to make a meaningful difference,” added McKnight. “By investing in food production and farming practices that can better help our planet, we hope to inspire consumers and other food companies to start asking important climate-facing questions like, ‘What kind of carbon footprint am I leaving behind?’”


  • Recycling (50%)
  • Reducing food waste (45%)
  • Using energy-saving light bulbs (39%)
  • Using energy-efficient appliances (36%)
  • Using reusable grocery bags (34%)


  • Scientific publications (63%)
  • Environmental groups (60%)
  • TV (57%)
  • School/University (57%)
  • Printed and online news (55%)

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