Food Biotechnology: A Study of U.S. Consumer Attitudinal Trends, 2007 REPORT

Amidst a year of heightened media attention on food concerns, awareness and perception of plant biotechnology remain stable, with few consumer concerns about usage in food. While awareness of animal biotechnology also remains stable in 2007, overall impressions, reactions to benefits, and purchase intent all improved somewhat if products produced using biotechnology are FDA-approved, suggesting consumers are growing less wary of animal biotechnology in particular. Consumer confidence in the safety of the U.S. food supply remains high, although there has been some erosion among those who report they are "very confident" in the safety of the food supply. When asked about "sustainable food production," most had not heard of it; however, once the concept was explained to consumers, they viewed it as important. With more than a decade of trending data, it is clear that awareness correlates with acceptance in these issue areas. Therefore, the need for communication of credible, science-based information about food biotechnology remains strong.

SUMMARY & CONCLUSION

Although favorability of animal biotechnology still lags behind that of plant biotechnology, 2007 marks a potential turning point where consumers appear less wary of animal biotechnology than in previous years. Further, these data suggest that assurances and safety determinations from the FDA would yield significantly increased consumer confidence in the area of food produced through animal cloning in particular. Despite a decrease among the "very confident," consumers remain confident in the safety of the U.S. food supply. Finally, sustainable food production is an emerging concept that is not well understood at present but heavily supported once defined and explained to consumers.

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