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Interest in Environment & Sustainability Prevails in Food Technology Survey

Washington, DC (Vocus) June 3, 2010

The International Food Information Council (IFIC) 2010 Consumer Perceptions of Food Technology survey found that consumers support the use of food biotechnology when they consider its potential benefits for reducing the impact of food and food production on the environment, and for improving sustainability.

The 14th IFIC Food Technology Consumer Survey (formerly the IFIC Survey of Consumer Attitudinal Trends toward Food Biotechnology) explored U.S. consumers perceptions of various aspects of plant and animal biotechnology, as well as sustainability and new and emerging technologies such as nanotechnology. This year, consumers responded most positively to benefits of biotechnology for the environment and sustainability. For example, more than three-quarters (77%) of consumers would be likely to purchase foods produced through biotechnology for their ability to reduce pesticide use (consistent from 2008), and 80% of consumers said they would be likely to purchase bread, crackers, cookies, cereal, or pasta products containing wheat that was grown using plant biotechnology if they were produced using sustainable practices to feed more people using fewer resources such as land and pesticides (new question in 2010). While products containing wheat grown using biotechnology are still up to a decade away from being commercially available, these data indicate a receptive audience to such products if they are produced through sustainable practices.

These results suggest that the importance of the impact of food production on the environment is here to stay for consumers, said Marianne Smith Edge, MS, RD, LD, FADA, IFICs Interim Vice President, Nutrition and Food Safety. Over the last several years weve seen the overall awareness of sustainability and environmental issues continue to grow.

Awareness & Perceptions of Sustainability in Food Production

Half of consumers (50%) have heard or read at least a little about the concept of sustainability in food production. This is a significant increase from 2008, when only four in ten (41%) had read or heard anything about sustainability in food production, and 2007, when only three in ten (30%) had heard or read anything about sustainability in food production.

With the increased focus by Americans on reducing environmental impact, we see that those aspects of sustainable crop production benefiting the environment resonate most with consumers. When asked to rank aspects of sustainable crop production (from a list of options) in order of importance, consumers top three are:

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