UBC Undergraduate Research

“Ugly Produce” and Consumer Choices at UBC Allison, Tessa; Darabian, Saman; Mangat, Sam; Tang, Don; Zilinskaite, Mona


This study aimed to determine how labels containing different levels of information about “ugly produce” impacted UBC students’ food purchase choices. We hypothesized that labels with the term “ugly produce” along with the description of the term, would be a more popular choice compared to labels with just the term, or labels with neither the term nor the description. A between-group research study was conducted, where 89 participants who were all UBC students were exposed to one of 3 conditions: food label with neither the term “ugly produce” nor the description, with the term “ugly produce” and no description, and with the term “ugly produce” and a description of the term. We controlled for participants’ year of study, love for consuming meat, price consciousness, and environmental consciousness. Our results supported our hypothesis. We also found a correlation between environmental consciousness and the likelihood of purchasing a dish in each condition. Based on our results, we recommend that if UBC Food Services chooses to use the term “ugly produce” on their Food Labels, they should also include a description of the term and target students who consider themselves environmentally conscious. Overall, these actions will help UBC reach its sustainability goals. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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