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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

In March, 2014, the Consumer Reports® National Research Center conducted a nationally representative phone survey to assess consumer opinion regarding the labeling of organic food (tables for all questions are included in the appendix). Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) of Princeton, New Jersey administered the survey to a nationally representative sample of 1,016 adult U.S. residents (half of the respondents were women) through its CARAVAN Omnibus Survey. Respondents were selected by means of random-digit dialing and were interviewed via phone. The data were statistically weighted so that respondents in the survey were demographically and geographically representative of the U.S. population.

Sales of organic food in the US have increased exponentially in the past decade. Our study found that the majority of US consumers buy organic food; thus, how this food is labeled directly affects most of the US population. Our findings suggest that when it comes to organic food labeling the general theme is that consumers demand more! More information, more regulation, more standards. If their organic produce is from a different country, consumers want information about this on the labeling. If organic fish will be developed, consumers want standards for this. If artificial ingredients will be used in organic products, consumers demand regulations and periodic review of these ingredients. Increased standardization of organic food labeling is something consumers want and need.

 

Highlights

 

Subject of Organic Food Labeling Relevant to Most of US Population

 

Our findings show that the subject of organic food labeling is relevant to most of the US population. The majority of US consumers (84%) buy organic food; as much as 45% of Americans buy organic food once a month or more.

 

Consumers Think Changes Needed for Labeling on Organic Products

 

Most consumers believe that the organic label on produce currently means that no toxic pesticides were used (81%) or no antibiotics were used (66%); the vast majority of consumers feel that the organic label on produce should mean that no toxic pesticides (91%) or antibiotics were used (86%).

 

 Most consumers think changes are needed to organic labeling on chicken and eggs; for example, while only half of consumers believe that this label currently means that the chickens’ living space met minimum size requirements, the majority (68%) feel this label should indicate this.

 

Consumers Want to Know if Their Organic Produce is from a Different Country

 

If organic produce is from a different country, the overwhelming majority of consumers (84%) want origin labeling to reflect this.

 

Consumers Demand Strong Federal Standards for Organic Products

 

Nearly all consumers (92%) want at least one federal standard for organic fish. The vast majority of consumers think federal standards should require that: (1) 100 percent organic feed is used, (2) no antibiotics or other drugs are used, and (3) no colors are added.

 

 Consumers want constraints on the approval of artificial ingredient use in organic products; the majority of consumers (71%) want approval for as few artificial ingredients as possible.

 

 An overwhelming percentage of consumers (84%) think the use of artificial ingredients in organic products should be discontinued, if not reviewed, after 5 years; few consumers (15%) endorse continued use of the artificial ingredient without review.

 

 

Organic Food Labeling Relevant to Most Consumers

 

The majority of consumers (84%) buy organic food; nearly 45% of Americans buy organic food once a month or more. This suggests that the subject of organic food labeling is relevant to most US consumers. In addition, the findings suggest that there are no compelling demographic differences (e.g., age, number of children, region) in frequency of organic food purchasing; this again confirms that the issue of organic food labels is relevant to most of the US public.

 

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