World Resources Institute (WRI), Washington, D.C., opened the Better Buying Lab, a new initiative focused on researching and catalyzing action that enables consumers to buy more sustainable foods.

The Better Buying Lab brings together industry leaders from consumer research, behavioral economics and marketing strategy, along with companies in the food industry to research, test and scale new strategies and actions that help consumers buy more sustainable products.

“If we want to feed a growing population without straining natural resources, we have to do more than change mindsets; we have to change diets,” says Dr. Andrew Steer, president and CEO, WRI. “An increasing number of people want to make more sustainable choices about what they eat, and the Better Buying Lab will help make it happen.”

“With the Better Buying Lab, we’ve developed a fresh approach to help people eat more sustainable food,” says Daniel Vennard, director of the Better Buying Lab, WRI. “By engaging a diverse group of marketing experts and industry partners, we aim to create innovative strategies that help consumers choose what’s good for their families and the environment.”

Several companies have been involved from its inception, including Google, Mountain View, Calif.; Sainsbury’s, UK; Hilton Worldwide, McLean, Va.; Quorn, UK; and Triniti Marketing, UK.

“What we choose to eat has an enormous impact on our environment, but there’s more we can learn about how to enable people to make more sustainable food choices,” says Michiel Bakker, director of Google Food. “At Google, we are excited to partner with the Better Buying Lab to share what we've learned, try out new ideas and advance conversations and actions that will help people adopt sustainable lifestyles.”

“At Hilton, we serve over a million meals every single day across more than 100 countries. We know those guests desire authentic and sustainably sourced ingredients,” adds Maxime Verstraete, vice president of corporate responsibility, Hilton Worldwide. “Becoming a founding member of the Better Buying Lab is part of our commitment to continually explore innovative ways to deliver exceptional experiences, every hotel, every guest, every time, whilst managing our impact on the environment.”

“We’re always looking for ways to evolve our offering to meet the needs of our customers and support sustainable lifestyles,” says Andrew Ritchie, category technical manager bakery and cafe at Sainsbury's. “We look forward to the Better Buying Lab helping us innovate new ways of doing this.”

“Consumer behavior is complex and often unconscious, but we’re uncovering new ways to understand how people actually make decisions,” says Karen Davies, managing partner, Triniti Marketing. “As a member of the Better Buying Lab, Triniti’s insights will help to develop new strategies to engage consumers and drive large-scale change toward sustainable food choices.”