Genetically modified organisms – the main reason parents are pushing their shopping carts into the organic section says the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA’s) U.S. Families’ Organic Attitudes and Beliefs 2014 Tracking Study.
According to the OTA, the nationwide survey of 1,200 households with at least one child under the age of 18 showed that 25 percent of the household heads selected organic grocery options in aversion to GMOs. This is up 16 percent from the 2013 survey.
“Each year we see an increase in parents’ self-described knowledge of organic topics. Parents have become more informed about the benefits of organic, and they have also become more aware of the questions surrounding GMOs. That heightened awareness is being reflected in their buying decisions,” said OTA CEO and Executive Director Laura Batcha.
Seven in 10 parents in the survey shared they felt “extremely well informed” or “know quite a bit” when it comes to organic food, as well as showing familiarity with the term “GMO.” In a recent white paper report, “Emerging Faith in Food Production,” (EFFP) by Sullivan Higdon & Sink FoodThink, 77 percent of Americans are considered to have poor knowledge about farming and ranching practices and methods.
Of these topics, 85 percent of organic shoppers were shown to be most concerned with pesticides and insecticides, compared to 69 percent of total grocery shoppers. This was followed closely by 84 percent of organic shoppers showing concern animal antibiotics and animal hormones and 80 percent showing concern with GMOs.
The main takeaways in the EFFP report showed a big push from consumers to have access to and know more about where their food comes from practices used.
OTA’s survey showed 73 percent of organic and non-organic shoppers understood the acronym “GMO” and that 70 percent of those shopping for organic groceries sought out labeling which includes “non-GMO” and “Produced without GMOs.”
“Only 34 percent of Americans feel the agriculture industry is transparent and only 30 percent feel food companies are transparent about food production practices. While these numbers are an improvement from those expressed in 2012, there is still a need for the food industry to build a reputation of transparency. FoodThink experts hypothesize that the improved perceptions of transparency in the industry may be attributed to greater public spotlight and dialogue on the topic,” says the EFFP report. “But consumers still want to know more – 67 percent think having food production knowledge is important and 65 percent want to know more about where food comes from. The usage of pesticides and insecticides, animal antibiotics, animal hormones and the treatment of animals continue to be the food production topics of greatest concern to consumers.”