Although consumer awareness about biotechnology and GMOs skyrocketed in 2014, only 2 percent of consumers cite GMOs as a barrier to eating foods or beverages, according to the 21st Annual Consumer Attitudes about Nutrition study. At the same time, 57 percent characterize the role of biotechnology as positive or neutral/no opinion based on the survey conducted annually by the United Soybean Board (USB).
Among consumers with a positive opinion about biotechnology, the following reasons emerged:
• Improve nutrition
• Allow for lower use of pesticides
• Improve crop yields
Many experts agree that biotechnology has a positive role to play in food production. "Biotechnology is a critical tool for improving nutrition, positively impacting the environment and increasing food production to meet the world's needs," stated Martina Newell-McGloughlin, director of the International Biotechnology program at the University of California-Davis.
A closer look at the data:
• 58 percent are familiar with the term GMO, up 14 percent over 2013
• 53 percent are familiar with the term biotechnology, up 13 percent over 2013
• 78 percent of those familiar with the term biotechnology say it is important that food production supports the long-term health of the environment
• 71 percent believe GMO products should be labeled, up 10 percent since 2013
The 21st Annual Consumer Attitudes about Nutrition study is conducted by the United Soybean Board to address current topics of interest to the food and health industries. The 2014 study was conducted by an independent research firm in February 2014 and includes 1,000 random surveys consistent with the U.S. population.