A newly-released International Food Information Council (IFIC) survey shows that an overwhelming percentage of consumers will choose foods that are produced through biotechnology based on environmental benefits and sustainable agricultural practices. IFIC reported that consumers responded favorably to purchasing foods modified by biotechnology “to provide more healthful fats like Omega-3s (76 percent); to avoid trans fat (74 percent); or to make them taste better/fresher (67 percent)” while 73 percent of respondents would likely buy wheat-flour products that use biotechnology for sustainable production practices “to feed more people using fewer resources such as land and pesticides.”
“As consumers learn more about how biotechnology preserves food quality and nutrition, as well as its role in more sustainable food production, they overwhelmingly embrace foods using biotechnology,” noted Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, Executive Vice President for Food and Agriculture at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).
The June 2010 report, “Consumer Perceptions of Food Technology,” surveyed consumers’ perceptions of various aspects of plant and animal biotechnology. While overall consumer awareness of food biotechnology use remains low, zero percent of respondents listed biotechnology as something to be avoided and less than one percent sought food labeling related to biotechnology. As survey participants learned of the benefits from biotechnology, such as preserving freshness, increasing nutritional qualities, and reducing water, pesticides, and land use, consumer favorability of biotechnology use in food production ranged from 67 percent to 80 percent.
About three-quarters of survey respondents noted they knew little or nothing at all regarding the use of biotechnology in animals. Like other biotechnology products, as consumers learned more about the benefits to animal health, food quality, and environmental impact, more than half of the consumers had a favorable impression of animal biotechnology use.