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NewsBites July 2015 Issue

GMO Food Fears on the Rise, But Consumers Reluctant to Pay to Avoid

Consumers are increasingly concerned about foods containing genetically modified (GMO) ingredients, but mostly unwilling to pay extra for non-GMO choices. That’s the finding of a report by the NPD Group market-research firm, which said 57% of US adults surveyed expressed some level of concern about GMOs—up from 43% in 2002. The share of respondents saying they were “very” or “extremely” concerned about GMOS doubled from 2002, up to 20%. But another NPD survey found two-thirds of grocery shoppers would not pay more for non-GMO foods, and only 14% actively seek out non-GMO alternatives. When asked what GMO products are, moreover, the most common answer was “I don’t know.” Other common responses, according to NPD, were “processed in some way” or “not natural.”


The Chipotle burrito chain recently announced it would replace all GMO ingredients in its offerings. Efforts to mandate GMO labeling are underway in several states, with Vermont’s first-in-the-nation law set to go into effect July 1. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and other scientific bodies have concluded, however, as the AAAS put it, “consuming foods containing ingredients derived from GM crops is no riskier than consuming the same foods containing ingredients from crop plants modified by conventional plant improvement techniques.”

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