More Americans want additional information on nutrition labels than two years ago, while confidence in the safety of U.S. food is unchanged, according to a survey released yesterday by the International Food Information Council.Twenty-four percent of respondents said they would prefer more information on labels, including data on nutrition, ingredients, and potential allergens and their side effects.  This represents an 18 percent jump in 2012 from 2 percent in the previous survey of comsumer perceptions of food technology in 2010.  Sixty-nine percent were “very” or “somewhat confident” in U.S. food safety, the same as two years ago.

“We see people wanting to know more about nutrition, and we see a big jump in people who want to know more about food safety,” said Lindsey Loving, a senior director for the Washington-based International Food Information Council.  Still, even when well-publicized food-safety scares occur, the average consumer is still confident in the food supply, she said.

The survey of 750 consumers over the age of 18 was conducted between March 7 and 19 by Cogent Research.  The poll, which has been conducted most years since 1997 to track consumer attitutes toward food, has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points, the council said.

Loving said consumer worries about safety tend to rise and fall with media reports, while the long-term trend has been toward the acceptance of biotechnology in food and a greater importance placed on sustainable farming practices.  Almost three-quarters of those surveyed said they are aware of plant biotechnology, such as genetically-modified seeds.  About 38 percent have favorable opinions of biotech, while 26 percent are neutral, 20 percent are unfavorable, and 17 percent say they do not know enought about the topic.  In 2010, 32 percent had a favorable view.

On sustainability, 56 percent of respondents said they have heard or read something about sustainablity in food production.  This is up from 50 percent two years ago and 41 percent in 2008.

 

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