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September 1 9 9 9

B S M G W O R L D W I D E

G r o c e r y M a n u f a c t u r e r s o f A m e r i c a

THE ALLIANCE FOR


Better Foods

Survey Results

B S M G W O R L D W I D E

G r o c e r y M a n u f a c t u r e r s o f A m e r i c a

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Methodology


National telephone survey.


Random sample of 795 adults, plus an additional 200
“opinion elites” (college educated, attentive adults).


Margin of error is +/
-
3.5 for adults (N=795) and +/
-
4.9
for “opinion elites” (N=406).


Interviews conducted September 14
-
19, 1999.


All results in this presentation are among all adults
unless otherwise specified.

B S M G W O R L D W I D E

G r o c e r y M a n u f a c t u r e r s o f A m e r i c a

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Objectives


To measure awareness, attitudes, and support for food
biotechnology and genetic modification.


To identify effective positive messages about the
benefits of GM food.


To measure support and attitudes toward labeling GM
foods.


To identify effective messages about labeling options.


To identify credible messengers.

B S M G W O R L D W I D E

G r o c e r y M a n u f a c t u r e r s o f A m e r i c a

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Key Findings:

Attitudes toward GM foods


Majorities are aware of genetically modified foods, but knowledge
is low and the issue is low on the radar screen.


Consumers now split evenly in their attitudes (positive vs.
negative, support vs. oppose).


Attitudes are easily influenced. Positive messages have a
significant positive impact; negative messages have a negative
impact.


Key positive messages about the benefits of GM foods are fewer
pesticides, greater productivity (hunger and land
-
use), and better
nutrition.

B S M G W O R L D W I D E

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Opinion elites are more aware of GM foods and more likely to
support the use of genetic modification in food production.


Older and college educated men are the most supportive and
positive toward GM foods.


Women (particularly women under 50 and women without a
college education) are most negative toward GM foods, most
concerned about food safety, and do most of the grocery
shopping. They are also among the most likely to be influenced
by positive messages, changing their mind during the survey.


African Americans are noticeably negative toward GM foods, and
less likely to change their minds when given positive
information.

Key Findings:

Targeting & Demographics

B S M G W O R L D W I D E

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Given a choice, consumers support labeling almost
unanimously, and a majority support it strongly.


Messages attempting to convince consumers that labeling is
unnecessary or unimportant or that it should be voluntary fail.


Consumers’ top priorities are full information and the ability to
choose. Solid majorities agree with messages on labeling that
communicate these priorities.

Key Findings:

Labeling

B S M G W O R L D W I D E

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Awareness

B S M G W O R L D W I D E

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Awareness


Most Americans have heard something about genetic
modification and biotechnology


relatively few have heard a
lot.


Awareness is rising; the proportion who have heard or read
something has increased since February.


Americans are equally likely to have heard about “genetically
modified foods” as “biotechnology.”


Those most likely to be aware of genetic modification and
biotechnology are opinion elites, college
-
educated men, men
over 50, and college
-
educated women.


B S M G W O R L D W I D E

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Awareness


Genetic modification and biotechnology are low on the radar
screen compared to food safety issues and nutrition issues.


Fewer than one in five are aware that most food in grocery
stores already includes genetically modified ingredients; one
in three thinks about half the food in grocery stores includes
GMOs; and a plurality (40 percent) thinks it is less than half.


People who have heard or read more about GM foods are
more likely to think a lot of food already contains GM
ingredients.

B S M G W O R L D W I D E

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How much have you heard or read
about genetically modified foods?

Total who have heard something:

General public
-

76%

Opinion elites
-

91%

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Have read or heard a lot
or some

Have read or heard little
or nothing

Source: February 1999 data from Wirthlin Worldwide for IFIC.

How much have you heard or read
about genetically modified foods?

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Have read or heard at
least some

Have read or heard little
or nothing

How much have you heard or read about
biotechnology? About genetically modified
foods?

B S M G W O R L D W I D E

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How much have you heard or read
about genetically modified foods?

Most likely to have heard or read
about genetically modified foods:


Opinion elites (66% have heard a lot or some)


College
-
educated men (68%)


Men over 50 (51%)


College
-
educated women (50%)

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How much have you read or heard
about…?

95%

91%

90%

72%

Food safety problems such as
listeria and e
-
coli

Lot Some Not much

The impact of junk food on
diet and health

Obesity in children

Irradiation of food

Biotechnology

Genetically modified foods

77%

75%

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To the best of your knowledge, how much of
the food in a typical American grocery store
includes genetically modified ingredients?

20%

20%

29%

9%

6%

Very little

Less than half

About half

Most

Almost all

Less than
half
-

40%

More than
half
-

15%

(17% don’t know)

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Half or more of the food in
grocery stores includes GM
ingredients

Uncertain, or less
than half

To the best of your knowledge, how much of
the food in a typical American grocery store
includes genetically modified ingredients?

B S M G W O R L D W I D E

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Attitudes,

Support, and Buying
Decisions

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Attitudes


On the whole, more consumers feel “negative and fearful” about
genetically modified foods than “positive and hopeful.”


Those who have heard more about GM foods are slightly more
positive, but no less negative (the difference is in the proportion who
don’t know how they feel).


There is a connection between fear and concerns about food safety:
those most concerned about food safety (disproportionately women,
older, African
-
American) are also most negative toward GM foods.


There is NO connection between environmentalism and feelings
about GM foods. People who have contributed to environmental
organizations are no more likely than others to be negative about GM
foods. They are, however, more likely to be aware of GM foods.

B S M G W O R L D W I D E

G r o c e r y M a n u f a c t u r e r s o f A m e r i c a

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Attitudes


Currently, positive feelings are rooted in support for scientific
progress and improvement in food quality and productivity.


Negative feelings are rooted in fear of the unknown, fear of
negative consequences for human health, and resistance to
tampering with nature.


Two
-
thirds say they are “concerned” about biotechnology issues,
but far fewer are concerned about biotechnology than about “big”
public issues such as taxes and education.

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On the whole, how do you feel about genetic
modification of foods


do you feel more POSITIVE
and HOPEFUL, or more NEGATIVE and FEARFUL?


38%

49%

Positive

Negative

Most likely to feel negative:


$20k to $40k income (58%)


High school or less (58%)


Women under 50 (55%)


Women non
-
college (56%)


African
-
Americans (57%)

Most likely to feel positive:


College
-
educated men (55%)


Affluent (53%)


Opinion elites (49%)


Men over 50 (47%)

B S M G W O R L D W I D E

G r o c e r y M a n u f a c t u r e r s o f A m e r i c a

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On the whole, how do you feel about genetic
modification of foods


do you feel more POSITIVE
and HOPEFUL, or more NEGATIVE and FEARFUL?


38%

49%

Positive

Negative

44%

35%

48%

49%

All consumers

Heard a lot or some
about GM foods

Heard a little or
nothing about GM
foods

(13% don’t
know)

(8% don’t
know)

(16% don’t
know)

B S M G W O R L D W I D E

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People who have contributed to
environmental organizations

Heard & Read

Positive or
Negative

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What is the main reason you feel
positive and hopeful?

Optimistic about new technology

scientific advancement

A way to make things better/
benefit people

More food/greater yields/world hunger

Healthier/more nutritious/safer food

Improve food quality (general)

Percent of those who are positive toward GM foods

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What is the main reason you feel
negative and fearful?

Fear of the unknown/lack of
information and knowledge

May be harmful to health/cause
cancer/allergies/diseases

It’s not natural/pure food

We should not tamper with
nature/ it’s not right to do this

Not enough research has been done

Percent of those who are negative toward GM foods

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How concerned are you about…?

95%

91%

77%

65%

54%

Education issues

Tax issues

Obesity in children issues

Biotechnology issues

Junk food issues

Extremely

Somewhat

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Support


Although 42% of opinion elites feel “negative and fearful” about
genetically modified foods, they are more likely than consumers
generally to support the use of genetic modification.


Most likely to both support GM foods and feel positive: men,
college educated, affluent, opinion elites.


Most likely to both oppose GM foods and feel negative: women,
no college, under 50, African
-
Americans.

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On the whole, would you say you support or
oppose the use of genetic modification in
agriculture and food production?


General Public

Opinion Elites

Oppose

Support

Net
-
9

Net +6

B S M G W O R L D W I D E

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Feelings vs. Support

General Public

Opinion Elites

Negative and
oppose

Positive and
support

33% mixed
or unsure

22% mixed
or unsure

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Feelings vs. Support
(among opinion elites)

Positive but do
not support

7%

Positive &
support

41%

Negative but
do not
oppose

5%

Don’t know

10%

Negative &
oppose

37%

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Feelings vs. Support
(among all consumers)

Positive but do
not support

9%

Positive &
support

29%

Negative but
do not
oppose

11%

Don’t know

13%

Negative &
oppose

38%

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Most likely to be positive and
support GM foods:


Men (37%)


College educated (39%)


Affluent (45%)


Opinion elites (41%)

Most likely to be negative and
oppose GM foods:


Women (42%)


No college (41%)


Under 50 (41%)


African American (47%)

Feelings vs. Support
(among all consumers)

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Buying Decisions


Consumers split evenly between an inclination to avoid buying GM foods
and indifference.


In addition to those who are more positive toward GM foods (men,
affluent, opinion elites), young consumers (under 35) are more likely
than others to be indifferent in their buying decisions.


When specific benefits of GM foods are mentioned, majorities prefer
them.


8 in 10 prefer GM foods if they have fewer pesticides.


2 in 3 prefer GM foods if they are more nutritious or taste better.


Cost savings are the least important benefit of GM foods; half would still
avoid GM foods if they were 30 percent less expensive.

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How do you feel about buying
genetically modified foods?

45%

42%

Prefer
to avoid
them

No
difference

Prefer to buy them

Don’t know

5%

8%


Men (46%)


Under 35 (50%)


Affluent (46%)


Opinion elites (46%)


Women over 50 (55%)


African
-
Americans (51%)


Buys organic (56%)


Concerned about

food safety (55%)

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Now, imagine two different boxes of cereal. One
includes genetically modified ingredients. One
does not. Which do you prefer if the genetically
modified food…

66%

61%

47%

79%

14%

29%

32%

44%

Prefer GM food

Prefer non
-
GM

Has fewer pesticides?

Is more nutritious?

Tastes better?

Is 30% less
expensive?

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Messages

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Positive Messages


Positive messages can have a significant impact on attitudes. After
hearing positive messages, the number of consumers with positive
attitudes nearly doubles.


Four themes have the greatest impact among all audiences:


Genetically modified foods require fewer pesticides.


Biotechnology improves agricultural productivity
--

offering a solution to
world hunger and improving land conservation.


Genetically modification offers improved nutrition.


The FDA, EPA and USDA stand behind the safety of biotechnology.

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How do you feel about the use of
genetic modification to…?

Develop food crops that require
fewer pesticides and herbicides

Make foods more nutritious

Make it possible to grow crops using
less land and water

Increase agricultural productivity

Make it possible to pick and ship foods
when they are ripe instead of green

Improve the flavor of foods

Percent who say each is “very acceptable”

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Does each statement make you feel MUCH more
positive about genetic modification, SOMEWHAT
more positive, or doesn’t make a difference to you?

85%

81%

80%

78%

76%

Genetic modification offers new ways of protecting the
environment. Crops can be modified to need fewer
pesticides and herbicides...

Biotechnology is one of our best answers to world
hunger...

Biotechnology and genetic modification can help
conserve land and water by making it possible to
grow more food on less land with less water.

With genetic modification, we can improve the
foods we eat
--

making them taste better and
increasing their nutritional value.

The FDA, the EPA, and the USDA have all
endorsed the use of genetic modification and stand
firmly behind their safety.

Much more

Somewhat more

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74%

76%

75%

72%

64%

Does each statement make you feel MUCH more
positive about genetic modification, SOMEWHAT
more positive, or doesn’t make a difference to you?

Much more

Somewhat more

Biotechnology and genetic modification can help
keep down the price of foods by increasing
agricultural productivity.

Biotechnology has been important in medical
advances. Food biotechnology, just like medical
biotechnology, can offer a host of benefits.

Consumer Reports

magazine reported in August that
foods produced through biotechnology and genetic
modification are safe.


Genetic modification is based on age
-
old
principles of selective breeding. Farmers have
used these practices for centuries...


Genetically modified foods are nothing new. Foods
grown using biotechnology have been in grocery
stores for years….

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Before hearing
any information

After hearing
positive messages

38%

49%

22%

70%

Positive

Negative

On the whole, how do you feel about genetic
modification of foods


do you feel more POSITIVE
and HOPEFUL, or more NEGATIVE and FEARFUL?


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Impact of Positive
Messages

Negative
before and
after
-

19%

Positive
before and
after
-

36%

Negative
before, positive
after
-

34%

Other

11%


Women


Non
-
college


Under 50 years old

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Negative Messages


Negative messages also have an impact, moving
attitudes back towards a more even split between
negative and positive. A plurality, however, remain
positive.


The most effective attacks are the threat of
animal/plant transfers, unanticipated allergic
reactions, and tipping the balance of nature.

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80%

83%

81%

77%

71%

Does each statement make you feel MUCH more
negative about genetic modification, SOMEWHAT
more negative, or doesn’t make a difference to you?

Much more

Somewhat more

Today’s genetically modified crops are just the tip
of a dangerous iceberg. Soon, scientists may be
transferring genes between animals and plants...

Genetically modified foods can cause unexpected
allergic reactions...

Genetic modification poses a real threat to our
environment and the balance of nature. Already…
(monarch butterflies).

Genetic modification of food is so new, we haven’t
had time to adequately study its effects ...

Public interest groups such as Greenpeace and the
Union of Concerned Scientists oppose genetically
modified food products….

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Impact of Messages


Attitudes are extremely fluid, with both positive and negative
messages having an impact


positive messages substantially
increase positive attitudes and reduce negative attitudes, negative
messages do the opposite.


Overall, positive messages have a greater impact than negative
messages. By the end of the survey, more are positive than
negative, despite having heard negative messages last.


People who have heard the most about GM foods are most likely to
start positive and stay positive. People who have heard the least
are most likely to change their minds during the survey.

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Before hearing
any information

After hearing
positive messages

38%

49%

22%

70%

Positive

Negative

After hearing
negative messages

45%

44%

On the whole, how do you feel about genetic
modification of foods


do you feel more POSITIVE
and HOPEFUL, or more NEGATIVE and FEARFUL?


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Positive
throughout
survey

Initial Awareness of GM Foods
and Attitudes During Survey

Negative
throughout
survey

Change mind
during survey

Heard a lot

Heard some

Heard a little

Heard none

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Positive
throughout
survey

Men
-

especially
college
-

educated and
older

Negative
throughout
survey

Women
-

especially
younger and
without college;
African
-
Americans

Positive
messages
make positive

Women
-

especially
younger and
without college;
non
-
college
men

Everybody who
changes their mind
at some point

Women
-

especially
younger and without
college; non
-
college
men

On the whole, how do you feel about genetic
modification of foods


do you feel more POSITIVE
and HOPEFUL, or more NEGATIVE and FEARFUL?


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Key Target: Women


Women are more likely than men to have negative
feelings about GM foods;


Women are more likely to respond to messages,
both positive and negative;


Women are more concerned about food safety;


Women are more likely to do their household’s
grocery shopping;


Women pay more attention to labels.

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On the whole, how do you feel about genetic
modification of foods


do you feel more POSITIVE
and HOPEFUL, or more NEGATIVE and FEARFUL?


Percent positive:

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Percent who say
they are seriously
concerned about
food safety “very
often.”

How often are you seriously concerned
about the safety of the food you buy?

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How much of the grocery shopping do
you personally do for your household?

Percent who say
they do all the
shopping for
their
households.

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Labeling

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Labeling


Given the option, nearly all support labeling GM foods, and a
majority strongly support it.


Most prefer GM labels to “GM free” labels.


Only half support the current FDA policy of requiring labels only
when the content or composition of a food has changed.


Majorities reject arguments that labeling should be voluntary or
that is not necessary if the foods are safe.


Consumers’ top priorities are adequate information and the
ability to choose.


Labeling GM ingredients is a lower priority than other kinds of
labeling.

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How important is each label to you
personally in choosing what to buy?

90%

79%

71%

72%

Whether or not the food has been
inspected for safety

Most imp’t

Nutritional information

The type and amount of fat in the food

A list of ingredients

59%

48%

Very imp’t

39%

The names of any additives or
preservatives used

Whether or not the food was
genetically modified

Whether or not the food is organic

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Should food manufacturers be required by law to
label ALL genetically modified foods, or should
this not be a legal requirement?


Favor Oppose

92%

6%

95% feel strongly

5% do not feel strongly

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Which is more important to you
--

labels that indicate which
foods DO include genetically modified ingredients, or
labels that indicate which foods are FREE of genetically
modified ingredients?


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How much confidence do you have in the job that the
government is doing, including the Food and Drug
Administration and the Department of Agriculture, to
ensure that foods are safe?

The most confidence:


Opinion elites


College graduates

B S M G W O R L D W I D E

G r o c e r y M a n u f a c t u r e r s o f A m e r i c a

58

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or
FDA, requires special labeling when a food
is produced under certain conditions...

General Public

Opinion Elites

Oppose

Support

Net +2

Net +12

… when biotechnology’s use introduces an allergen or when it substantially changes
the food’s nutritional content, like vitamins or fat, or its composition. Otherwise, special
labeling is not required. Would you say that you support or oppose this policy of the
FDA?


B S M G W O R L D W I D E

G r o c e r y M a n u f a c t u r e r s o f A m e r i c a

59

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or
FDA, requires special labeling when a food
is produced under certain conditions...

… when biotechnology’s use introduces an allergen or when it substantially changes
the food’s nutritional content, like vitamins or fat, or its composition. Otherwise, special
labeling is not required. Would you say that you support or oppose this policy of the
FDA?


Most likely to support
current FDA policy:


College
-
educated men (56%)


Men under 50 (55%)


Positive throughout (68%)

Most likely to oppose
current FDA policy:


Women over 50 (56%)


College
-
educated women (53%)


65 and over (59%)


Negative throughout (71%)

B S M G W O R L D W I D E

G r o c e r y M a n u f a c t u r e r s o f A m e r i c a

60

Please tell me if you agree or
disagree...

... It would be better for food manufacturers to provide
more detailed information through toll
-
free phone numbers
and web sites.



Instead of labeling all foods, we should put labels on foods
that are NOT genetically modified, so that people who
want to choose these foods can.



Identifying genetically modified foods with labels is not
that important if the modified foods are not significantly
different in either content or nutrition from other foods.



Identifying genetically modified foods with labels is not
that important if the FDA, EPA and USDA all agree that
the foods are safe.



Food manufacturers should be allowed to label genetically
modified foods if they choose, but it does not need to be
mandated by law.




Disagree
Agree

B S M G W O R L D W I D E

G r o c e r y M a n u f a c t u r e r s o f A m e r i c a

61

Messengers

B S M G W O R L D W I D E

G r o c e r y M a n u f a c t u r e r s o f A m e r i c a

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Messengers


Medical groups have the greatest credibility on
biotechnology issues.


Farmers, regulatory agencies, nutritionists, and
independent researchers rank next.


Environmentalists, consumer advocates, retailers,
and food manufacturers have the least credibility.


B S M G W O R L D W I D E

G r o c e r y M a n u f a c t u r e r s o f A m e r i c a

63

87%

86%

85%

83%

82%

84%

84%

83%

How much trust would you have in statements
about food biotechnology and genetic
modification made by…?

A lot

Some

American Medical Association

American Pediatric Association

Farmers and farm groups

Food and Drug Administration

Department of Agriculture

Environmental Protection Agency

American Dietetic Association

Independent researchers and scientists

Environmental groups like Sierra Club

Consumer advocates such as Nader

Greenpeace

Grocers and grocery stores

Food manufacturing companies

67%

65%

62%

61%

53%