America’s most honest cities revealed by Honest Tea’s social experiment

Honest Tea has conducted a large-scale national experiment to determine how honest the U.S. consumers actually are when nobody’s looking.

The beverage brand set up unattended kiosks in 61 locations across all 50 states earlier this month, leaving bottles of Honest Tea on a display. Consumers could either leave $1 on the honor system or grab a bottle with no refund—in other words, steal it.  The brand has been evaluating “shopper honesty” with a smart mobile app for some time, and now they’ve rolled out an online tool to forecast honesty by location, gender and appearance of the participants.

The research, conducted in its fourth year, showed that women tend to be more honest than men—95% to 91% respectively, and individuals were less honest than people in groups. When it comes to physical appearance, clean-shaven men proved to be more honest (93%) than those with the 5 o’clock shadow (88%). Eye glasses or sunglasses were usually an accessory of honest people (93% and 94% respectively). Blonde people were more honest than those with darker hair (95% vs. 91%). In general, Americans were quite honest during the experiment—there were 11,000 participants in general, and 92% of them paid for the bottle of Honest Tea. The most honest shoppers appeared to be from Alabama and Hawaii, less honest (for the second year in a row)—from Washington D.C.

“This was the first time we’ve conducted the experiment on a national scale—which is quite an undertaking for a company like ours,” commented Seth Goldman, Honest Tea co-founder and “TeaEO.” “We have this honest and transparent connection with our ingredients, so creating an activation that challenges consumers to think about those same values in the way they live makes sense.”

Photo: The National Honesty Index’s infographics (click to enlarge)