Polling Trends on Food, Biotechnology, and More
Every client we have—no matter what industry—will find something important to think about in looking at polling data on food. These polls touch on some of the “universal” questions we ask in market research, such as: How much do consumers trust the safety of products they buy? How much do they trust the companies that sell them? How much do they trust and rely upon new technologies to benefit them? What do they think of government agencies regulating the safety of products, and advising them on what they need?
Here is what a team of academic researchers at the University of Wisconsin found in a recent meta- analysis of consumer polling data over the last fifty years:
- There has been a decline in confidence that the federal government can ensure the safety of our food supply (but still, a solid majority feel confident)
- There has been a decline in confidence that the food being sold in restaurants and grocery stores is safe to eat (but still, a solid majority feel confident)
- There has been a decline in consumers believing that packaged food companies are doing a good job providing for their customers (but still, a majority say they are doing a good job)
- There are increasing concerns, and negative perceptions, about GMO foods (most say they want to avoid them)
- Fewer people are paying very close attention to biotechnology news or information on food packages (fewer than half)
- More consumers are paying very close attention to food warnings and nutritional recommendations (roughly one-third)
As I read these findings, I pulled together a quick synopsis to share with our clients in various food industries, when I realized how applicable it was to our healthcare clients as well (think gene medicine and other new therapeutic technologies). And then I realized how applicable these findings are to our financial services clients as well (think Department of Labor fiduciary regulations). And so on.
Indeed, these findings reflect an important trend affecting nearly every problem and industry we are involved with. The world is not (yet) falling apart, but consumers are measurably less trusting than they have been in the past. They are paying less attention to the barrage of information and news regarding products, but they continue to rely on meaningful recommendations about what’s good for them.