Economic issues top consumers' concerns: study

by Bryan Salvage
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KANSAS CITY — When it comes to top consumer concerns, economic issues continue to head the list, according to the most recent consumer survey by the Center for Food Integrity. C.F.I. relays the U.S. economy, increasing energy costs, rising food costs, increasing health-care costs and personal financial situations rated the highest level of concern among 11 current issues. Global warming concerns received the lowest rating.

"The top-five issues each had a mean score above eight on a zero to 10 scale, which indicates a very high level of concern on a national survey," said Jan Wilson of Gestalt Research, which conducted the survey for C.F.I. Conducted in August and September, more than 2,000 consumers responded to the national survey.

For the second consecutive year, food safety was the highest rated non-economic issue and again rated higher than consumer concern over military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"This is consistent with the results of our national focus group research in April," said Terry Fleck, C.F.I. executive director. "Consumers told us their priorities are food that is safe, affordable and nutritious. The number and frequency of high-profile, food-safety incidents over the past several years results in heightened consumer awareness."

Complete survey results will be released at the C.F.I. 2009 Food System Summit, October 6-7 in Kansas City. The Summit is open to the public. Registration information is available at www.foodintegrity.org.

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