Would you pay for a beverage if you saw it just sitting in a cooler? Or, would you be honest and pay for it, even though there was no one around to take your money?

The Honest Store

From July 10 through Aug.12, Honest Tea once again set up unmanned racks of cold Honest beverages offered for $1 on the honor system in 60 locations across all 50 states and Washington, D.C. At every site, the brand collected data including the number of people who paid or stole, as well as observable characteristics such as gender and hair color. 

An online component was added as a new twist this year to test the honesty of people on the internet via an honor pact. Through a Facebook app, people were asked to share an inspirational quote on their wall in return for a coupon. More than 28,000 people participated in person and online.

“We seek to infuse honesty into everything we do, from the way we run the company to the organic ingredients we use, so we developed this experiment to see if people around the country share that same value,” said Seth Goldman, co-founder and TeaEO, Honest Tea. “The 95 percent honesty rate we saw this year suggests that Americans are a lot more honest than we give ourselves credit for.”

The complete National Honesty Index results are available at www.NationalHonestyIndex.com. Visitors can play a game to challenge their assumptions on honesty, analyze the statistics, and obtain a personalized honesty profile that examines astrological signs, Facebook relationship status, and other details. View infographic.

Honest Tea plans to donate all of the funds collected from the on-site social experiments to FoodCorps, a nationwide team of emerging leaders that connects kids to real food, helping them grow up healthy.

Honest in Numbers: Highlights From the 2014 Honesty Index

The Honest Store

  • Participants in Honolulu, Hawaii were 100% honest for the second year in a row.
  • Honesty returned to the nation’s capital, as Washington, D.C. became the most improved city, rising to 96% honesty, 16 percentage points higher than 2013.
  • Minneapolis, Minn. and Providence, R.I. tied for the biggest dip in honesty year over year, dropping 12 percentage points to 81% and 80%, respectively. 
  • Participants in the online experiment (as determined by authenticating via a Facebook application) were 95% honest. People identifying their relationship status on Facebook as “separated” (100% honest) proved to be more honest than “engaged” (94% honest).
  • Women again proved to be more honest than men, slightly edging them out 95% to 93% honest.
  • For the second year in a row, blondes came out as the most honest hair color with 95%. People with either black or red hair were the least honest at 91%.