Food production on right path, but misperceptions remain
CHESTERFIELD, Mo., Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) released findings of a new survey about Americans' perceptions on food production. The survey, released in conjunction with The Food Dialogues: New York, revealed Americans increasingly believe food production is heading in the right direction. However, the survey also found Americans still have widespread misperceptions about how food is grown and raised.
According to the survey, 53 percent of Americans believe food production is heading in the right direction — an increase from the 48 percent who believed the same in a benchmark 2011 USFRA survey. Yet the survey reveals a gap between how Americans feel about their food and what they really know about their food. More than one in four Americans (27 percent) admit they often are confused about the food they are purchasing. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) do not believe that 95 percent of all U.S. farms are in fact family-owned1. While two-thirds of Americans (66 percent) correctly believe that pesticide use decreased from 956 million pounds in 1999 to 877 million pounds in 20072.
"I am encouraged to see that Americans are becoming more confident in our food supply and that they believe farmers and ranchers are improving," said Bob Stallman, chairman of USFRA and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. "We are doing something right, but we still have a long way to go in talking with American families and consumers, and answering their questions about food. That's why America's farmers and ranchers are continuing a dialogue with consumers."
Factors When Making Decisions About Food
In addition to perceptions on food production, the survey also revealed what and who influences American consumers purchasing decisions, whether at the grocery store or while dining out:
Americans Admit Confusion about Food Purchases
- More than one in four Americans admit they are often confused about the food they are purchasing (27 percent).
- Three in five Americans would like to know more about how food is grown and raised, but don't feel they have the time or money to prioritize (59 percent).
- Young adults (18-29 years old) are more likely than any other age group to say they are often confused about food purchases (38 percent).
Cost and Quality Top Factors for Purchase Decisions at the Grocery Store and While Dining Out
- Americans are more likely to report that how food is grown and raised will impact their purchase decision in the grocery store than impact their decisions when dining out (86 percent versus 76 percent).
- When it comes to purchasing groceries, Americans prioritize cost (47 percent), quality (43 percent) and healthiness/nutrition (21 percent).
- Dads are 16 points more likely than moms to prioritize quality (53 percent versus 37 percent), while moms are more likely than dads to prioritize healthiness/nutrition (31 percent versus 20 percent).
- When it comes to dining out, Americans prioritize quality (48 percent), cost (42 percent) and taste (38 percent).
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