CHESTERFIELD, Mo. – Americans increasingly believe food production in the United States is headed in the right direction, but misperceptions about how food is grown and raised remain, according to survey results released by the US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA).
Key findings include:
• 53 percent of respondents believe food production is heading in the right direction — an increase from the 48 percent who believed the same in a benchmark 2011 USFRA survey.
• More than one in four Americans (27 percent) said they often are confused about the food they are purchasing. Young adults (18-29 year-olds) are more likely than any other age group to say they are often confused about food purchases (38 percent).
• Three in five Americans would like to know more about how food is grown and raised, but don’t feel they have the time or money for that to be a priority (59 percent).
• When it comes to dining out, survey respondents prioritize quality (48 percent), cost (42 percent) and taste (38 percent). When purchasing groceries, Americans prioritize cost (47 percent), quality (43 percent) and healthiness/nutrition (21 percent).
• 27 percent of respondents said they want to learn about organic farming and ranching, and nearly all respondents (91 percent) said it is most important there are healthy choices available, even if they’re not organic or local options.
• Overall, 84 percent of respondents said they believe that farmers and ranchers in America are committed to improving how food is grown and raised. Half of those surveyed think farmers and ranchers are missing from the media conversation around food.
USFRA also surveyed farmers and ranchers regarding their perceptions of consumer attitudes towards food production and what they want in a dialogue with consumers. USFRA found:
• Three-quarters of farmers and ranchers believe that the average consumer has very little to no knowledge about food production in the United States (76 percent). In fact, nearly three out of five farmers and ranchers believe consumers have an inaccurate perception of today’s agriculture (59 percent).
• Farmers and ranchers want to see more of an emphasis on sustainability and the environment (42 percent) and transparency with consumers and customers (36 percent).
• Farmers and ranchers report topics best represented to American consumers include those related to family-owned farms (34 percent), commitment to food safety (23 percent) and the education level of farmers and ranchers (20 percent).