ORGANIC LABELING STUDY


Presented to:
The National Center for Public Policy Research

501 Capitol Court, N.E.
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 543-4110 Fax (202) 543-4110
[email protected] * www.nationalcenter.org

 

Presented by:
International Communications Research/ICR

605 W. State Street
Media, Pennsylvania 19063
(Phone) 610/565-9280 / (Fax) 610/565-2369


May 2000

 

The study was conducted via telephone omnibus on May 12 through May 16, 2000 by ICR. A total of 1,029 adults across the United States were surveyed; 508 males and 521 females. The results were weighted to reflect the US population.

The sample for the omnibus was a list of randomly generated telephone numbers, drawn proportionate to the US population. In addition, adults age 18+ in the household were selected using the "last birthday method" to reduce bias.

Consumers were told that the USDA has proposed new federal standards for organic foods which are the most comprehensive and strongest in the world. Products that meet the standards would be allowed to use a seal saying "USDA Certified Organic" and to use "organic" on packaging. Products that do not meet the standards could not use the seal.

Knowing this, consumers were asked to indicate whether the seal would mean the foods that bear it would be better in some way; safer; better for the environment; more healthy, or more nutritious than foods without the seal, or if the seal would not mean those things.

Consumers clearly feel the seal indicates a positive difference in foods with versus without the seal; in effect, that products with the seal would be better. A large majority feel the seal would mean the foods are better in some way; safer; more healthy; and better for the environment. The only area the seal would not indicate a difference for most people is "more nutritious."

Since most consumers feel the organic seal would indicate the food was better, it is not surprising that they therefore also feel that if the USDA does not want consumers to think products with the seal means "better," then information saying so should be put on the seal. The majority (72%) want this type of information.

Women, who tend to be the primary grocery shoppers, are especially likely to want information on the seal saying so.

Yes, seal should have information: Women: 76% Men: 67%

Question: "If the USDA does not want consumers to think that foods that have the USDA Certified Organic seal are of better quality, safer, healthier or better for the environment than foods that are grown conventionally, should the USDA inform consumers by putting additional information on the seal or not?"

The vast majority (85%) feel that the USDA Certified Organic seal would mean that foods with the label excelled in at least one of the 5 attributes tested (better in some way; safer; more healthy; better for the environment; and more nutritious). In fact, one-third (31%) feel the organic seal would mean all of the attributes, and over-half (52%) feel the seal would mean at least four of the attributes.

A large majority of consumers (67%) feel that foods with the USDA organic seal would mean that they are better in some way. Women are significantly more likely to feel that way.

Yes, foods with seal are better: Women: 71% Men: 63%

Question: "Do you think that foods that have the seal or label that says USDA Certified Organic would be in some way better than similar foods that don't have the seal and that may have been grown using chemical pesticides or other processes that do not meet organic standards, or would they not be better?"

A large majority of consumers (62%) feel that foods with the USDA organic seal would mean that they are more healthy than foods without the seal.

Question: "Would this USDA Certified Organic seal mean to you that foods that have the seal would generally be more healthy for consumers than similar foods that do not have this seal, or would it not mean this to you?"

Again, a large majority of consumers (68%) feel that foods with the USDA organic seal would mean that they are safer than foods without the seal.

Question: "Would this USDA Certified Organic seal mean to you that foods that have the seal would be safer for consumers than similar foods that do not have this seal, or would it not mean this?"

A large majority of consumers (69%) also feel that foods with the USDA organic seal would mean that they are better for the environment than foods without the seal.

Question: "Would this USDA Certified Organic seal mean to you that foods that have the seal were grown in such as way that was better for the environment than similar foods that do not have this seal, or would it not mean this to you?"

A majority of consumers do not feel, however, that foods with the USDA organic seal would mean that they are more nutritious than foods without the seal. They are equally split on this issue; almost half say the seal would indicate the food is more nutritious and almost half say it would not.

African-Americans are significantly more likely than whites to say that foods with the seal are more nutritious; in fact, over half feel that way.

Yes, foods are more nutritious: Blacks: 59% Whites: 41%

Question: "Would this USDA Certified Organic seal mean to you that foods that have the seal would be more nutritious than similar foods that do not have this seal, or would it not mean this to you?"

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For a press release about this poll, go to: http://www.nationalcenter.org/PROrganicFood500.html.



The National Center for Public Policy Research
501 Capitol Ct., N.E.
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 543-4110
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Web: www.nationalcenter.org


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