Research shows consumers taking personal interest in GMOs
Overall, men dominated the "in-depth understanding" group at 65 percent. "This suggests the food industry may want to increase engagement with younger males, especially as trends indicate men are exerting more influence at the supermarket," Gale said.
The 13 percent of consumers who report "very in-depth understanding" of GMOs are least likely to be interested in benefits, most likely to perceive disadvantages and most interested in a ban at the corporate or federal level.
Even though consumers were concerned about whether they or their families can be harmed by GMOs, they cited broad benefits for potential uses:
• 55 percent believe GMOs can assist communities in drought areas
• 54 percent think GMOs can help farmers be more productive and earn more
• 48 percent believe GMOs can play a key role in solving world hunger
• 39 percent believe GMOs can allow foods to be healthier and more nutrient-dense
• 31 percent believe GMO s can improve food safety
In general, consumers perceive the presence of GMOs in their foods and beverages to be much lower than widely accepted industry estimates of 70 percent to 90 percent:
• 52 percent of those who believe they have an in-depth understanding of GMOs indicate that 50 percent or more of their food and beverage purchases include GMOs
• 57 percent of those with awareness but no understanding believe less than 30 percent of their food and beverage purchases include GMOs
The study also indicates that consumers think GMOs are used in products from large corporate-owned farms and "are not available to smaller farming operations."
Marcy Tessmann, Charleston|Orwig president and partner, said that sponsoring consumer research into food-industry issues allows the company to better connect clients with consumers. "We're closely involved with clients who grapple with issues like GMOs every day," she said. "Our annual research projects provide important context and understanding."