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Oxford launches Sustained powered SALIENT trial to better understand environmentally sustainable shopping behaviours

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15th April 2024 

United Kingdom – Sustained, an innovator in environmental intelligence and carbon footprint reduction software, has partnered with the SALIENT research consortium for its latest Food Systems Trial to better understand sustainable shopping behaviours.

Led by the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick, and Queen Mary University London – with help from the public, partners from local and national government, food charities, community support teams, and the food industry - the research is set to explore the potential of targeted interventions to encourage healthy, sustainable diets and reduce the impact of food on the planet.

With food the biggest contributor to water pollution, land use change and biodiversity loss, while being responsible for about one fifth of UK greenhouse gas emissions (nearly one third globally), the SALIENT trial represents a proactive approach to fostering sustainable eating habits, while reinforcing that more needs to be done than changing production methods to address this growing issue.

The trial itself is facilitated by a browser extension for a leading Supermarket’s online grocery platform and is powered by Sustained’s database of over 14,000 life cycle assessments for products sold online, using on pack data. 

These assessments measure 16 environmental impact categories using the PEF methodology, and the trial integrates these interventions as part of the digital shopping experience, at scale.

In turn, the trial will evaluate two distinct interventions through a 2-arm adaptive design:

  • Eco-labelling: Inform online shoppers about the environmental footprint of their food choices, using an A (least impact) to G (most impact) rating system. 
  • Product Swaps: Suggest alternative products with lower environmental impact and equal or better nutritional profile, in place of specific products in their basket with varying price discounts to test the customer sensitivity to pricing.

The primary objective is to assess the impact of these interventions on the environmental rating of consumers’ shopping baskets, to understand whether either intervention results in more sustainable shopping habits. 

Carl Oliver, CEO of Sustained confirmed: “Empowering more sustainable purchasing choices is part of the journey to reducing the massive impact the global food system has on the environment.  This trial is also about understanding how industry and policy makers can utilise technology partners like Sustained to shape a food system that supports the health of us and our planet. 

This is an exciting partnership for Sustained as we work towards our vision of helping consumers and businesses reduce their environmental impact through actionable intelligence and collaboration.” 

Established in 2020 with a clear vision to provide individuals and businesses worldwide with the intelligence to make decisions that help reduce their impact on the environment, the Sustained SaaS platform helps food brand owners and manufacturers to assess their environmental impact more accurately from a product and value chain level.

This latest SALIENT Food Systems Trial underlines the importance of leveraging high-quality data on food’s nutritional and environmental impact, while emphasising the need for collaborative efforts across the food system to design and implement practical, impactful interventions. 


We are a team of researchers working with the public, partners from local and national government, food charities, community support teams, and the food industry. We will work together to design interventions to support healthier eating and reduce the impact of food on the planet. We will test the impact of these interventions in real-life settings. And we will model the impact of delivering these interventions at scale on health, inequalities, businesses and the environment. 

The SALIENT consortium is drawn from eight universities (Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick, Birmingham, Hertfordshire, Liverpool, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Queen Mary University of London) and two research institutes (Nesta and the Behavioural Insights Team). The consortium is led by Professor Pete Scarborough from the University of Oxford, and Professor Martin White from the University of Cambridge. We regularly meet with a Programme Board with members from the following Government departments: Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs; Food Standards Agency; Cabinet Office; HM Treasury; Department of Health and Social Care; Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities; Department for Education.

About Sustained 

Sustained was founded with a clear vision to help individuals and businesses worldwide make decisions that help reduce impact on the environment.  The Sustained Carbon and Environmental Impact Management SasS platform helps food brand owners and manufacturers to more accurately assess their environmental impact from a product and value chain level.  Using the insights gained they are able to identify impact reduction potential and act on this decisively.  This allows for more transparency and communication to stakeholders and customers.