GMO Benefits Win Over Iowa Grocery Shoppers

Jamie JohansenAg Group, Farm Bureau, GMO

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 3.20.13 PMNearly 9 out of 10 (87%) Iowa grocery shoppers say knowing that crops developed with genetically modified organisms (GMO) can produce foods which provide better nutritional value would influence their decision to purchase this type of food for their family; that’s according to the latest research recently completed for the Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index™, conducted online by Harris Poll.

The study also showed that Iowa grocery shoppers would be influenced to buy GMO foods once they learn that GMOs reduce pesticide use and provide food with better texture or flavor (84% and 82%, respectively).

The Iowa Farm Bureau Food & Farm Index ™ is a semi-annual survey of Iowa grocery shoppers to study the factors driving their food purchases. The spring survey focused on packaged food products. This survey included Iowa residents between 20 and 60 years old who have primary or shared responsibility for household grocery shopping; 506 such respondents were interviewed online in May for this spring wave of research.

“Iowa grocery shoppers are common sense food buyers, and they are also hungry for more information about GMO foods and learning why farmers choose that technology,” says Craig Hill, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation president and Milo grain and livestock farmer. “Iowa has long been recognized around the world for our ability to grow food and while farmers know why we choose certain kinds of seeds, consumers may need more information, and a different kind of information to answer the questions they have. This is an opportunity for all farmers to be transparent about what we grow and why we grow it to help consumers make more informed food choices,” said Hill.

Hundreds of independent tests done nearly twenty years have proven that GMO crops are safe he added. “In fact, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ‘foods from genetically engineered plants must meet the same requirements, including safety requirements, as foods from traditionally bred plants. FDA considers a consultation to be complete only when its team of scientists are satisfied with the developer’s safety assessment and have no further questions regarding safety or regulatory issues.’”

The Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index™ also showed that when it comes to the most trusted sources of food safety information for packaged food products, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (54%) rated the highest, followed by medical professionals (50%), dietitians/nutritionists (47%) and farmers (37%).

Taste (73%) and price (73%) were the most popular responses Iowa grocery shoppers cited as being among the top three factors influencing their packaged food purchases. These finding aligns with the results of the winter Iowa Farm Bureau Food & Farm Index™, which showed shoppers look for taste (76%) and price (79%) when buying meat, poultry and dairy products.