20 April, 2018
A recent Food Literacy and Engagement Poll from Michigan State University’s Food@MSU initiative asked questions pertaining to knowledge of food terms, food safety and purchasing behavior. The results showed that 49% of Americans in households earning at least $50,000 annually believe they know more about global food systems than the average person. In comparison, 28% of Americans in households earning less per year also believe they know more. However, TheConversation.com decided to create their own survey to further see how consumer’s knowledge varied between higher and lower-income households and those results revealed higher-income Americans actually did not know significantly more about food than lower-income Americans. Thus, this shows that regardless of socioeconomic status, there is a serious need for all Americans to be well-informed about global food systems.
TheConversation.com conducted an online survey with over 2,000 Americans of different demographics, age 18 and over. One question they asked was if participants were familiar with the term “genetically modified ingredients (GMOs).” 93% of higher-income participants responded yes, compared to 85% of lower-income respondents who responded yes. Taking a deeper look into their GMO knowledge, another question was if they purchase genetically modified foods, to which 43% of higher-income respondents and 26% of lower-income respondents stated that they avoid GMO products.
These answers suggest that consumers are aware of GMO products and feel that organic or non-GMO products are better and healthier for you. However, these responses also show that consumers may not be as aware of how much product labeling and pseudoscience may be influencing their knowledge of GMOs and that they are actually as safe to eat as non-GMO products. This knowledge comes by way of scientific research and studies such as a recent one from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Additionally, these answers show that though a percentage of higher and lower-income participants understood this food term, it is evident that there is still a lack of food information being given to lower-income households and thus it needs to be changed and made equal.
At Food Facts, we feel that polls and surveys like these are so important because they help show the hard truth about how, to a certain degree, many people actually don’t know as much about food as they think they do. Just because someone may have a higher income than someone else doesn’t mean that they are reading labels correctly, understand what GMOs are or have a better understanding of where their food comes from. Getting the proper knowledge and truth out about food is what we’ve always strived to do and it’s what we will always continue to do as well!
Image via @wrightkitchen Instagram.