Americans want sustainable food choices

Three-quarters of Americans are willing to sacrifice variety and dollars to eat more consciously, according to a survey conducted by Cone Communications. Consumers want to eat locally produced food and want companies to provide more sustainable food options.

Although family satisfaction reigns supreme (97 per cent), shoppers consider health and nutrition (93 per cent) and sustainability (77 per cent) important factors when deciding what to buy. At least two-thirds of Americans prioritise food that is locally produced, sustainably packaged, protects animal welfare, non-GMO or protects and renews natural resources.

But while 66 per cent of Americans are willing to pay more for food that is produced close to home, their reasons are more economic than environmental: 64 per cent state supporting local business as the primary reason for buying local compared to 26 per cent who believe it is better for the environment when food does not travel as far. That being said, 46 per cent are willing to sacrifice variety to purchase locally produced foods.

84 per cent of consumers want companies to disclose information and educate them on GMOs in products because more than half (55 per cent) say they don’t know whether GMOs are good or bad for them. “The GMO debate is dominating media and social channels,” says Liz Gorman from Cone Communications. “Consumers are confused and the onus is on companies to help them understand GMOs and be transparent about if and how GMOs are used in the products they are buying.”

The survey also discovered that women are more likely to consider sustainability because they want to do their part to protect the environment (50 per cent vs. 36 per cent of men), while men are more motivated by taste and quality (41 per cent vs. 38 per cent of women). Women are also likely to pay more and will sacrifice variety to eat local.

“Grocery shopping decisions no longer hinge on price and taste alone. Consumers worry about where their food is made, what’s in it and how it affects the environment,” says Alison DaSilva from Cone Communications. “The stakes are higher for companies to not only provide food options that meet consumers’ modern needs but communicate attributes in a clear and transparent way.”

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