True Price Lab is launched

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The True Price Lab is a project focusing on willingness to pay the true price for food and drink.

From 26 February to mid-June 2024, the restaurant and espresso bar in the Corry Tendeloo Building of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences will be dedicated to the True Price Lab. For four months, students and staff will be able to choose between paying the normal or true price for a number of products. This project is an initial exploration of consumers' willingness to pay the true price, which includes hidden environmental and social-impact costs.

True price versus consumer price

The true price can be defined as the price applicable after calculating and improving the true price of a product. The true price is based on the retail price plus the sum total of external social and environmental costs. Traditional pricing disregards these external costs, which are effectively paid for by society. For example, the retail price of a cup of coffee does not include the environmental damage of pest control or the underpayment of the farmers who grow the coffee.

The full extra amount that participants pay when they voluntarily opt for the true price will go to the non-profit organisation Solidaridad. Solidaridad wants to make the world a place where everything is made and bought in solidarity with people, the environment and future generations. Visitors to the restaurant and espresso bar can learn more about what their contributions will be used for by scanning a QR code.

Project phase

The project is a 'living lab' and has just started. It will end in June '24

What is the goal of the project?

The goal of the project is:
• to gain an insight into the effect of true pricing on consumer behaviour;
• to gain an insight into effective interventions on consumer behaviour.

What is the result of the project?

For Education
• to give students the opportunity to contribute to research via their graduation projects;
• to incorporate the insights gained into teaching cases that can be used in the various degree programmes provided by the AUAS Faculty of Economics and elsewhere, outside AUAS, as well.

For Companies
Three strategies have been developed for companies:
• calculating true prices based on our insights to make the value chain more sustainable. This could reduce or even eliminate the True Price gap;
• making it voluntary for consumers pay the True Price. They decide whether to pay the usual retail price or the true price at checkout. This is the focus we have chosen for our project;
• making it mandatory for consumers to pay the True Price. Supermarket De Aanzet in the centre of Amsterdam is a great example of how this works. It sells most of its products for the true price.

Who initiated the project and which organizations are involved?

The True Price Lab is a project of the Centre for Economic Transformation (CET) and the Centre for Market Insight at AUAS. For the purpose of this project, it is partnering with the True Price & Impact Institute, AUAS Facility Management and the caterer CIRFOOD.

What is the next step?

The next step is to work out the findings from the project.

What can other cities learn from your project?

Other organisations can contact us, to learn about the project, or about how we set up our living lab.