Most consumers won't cough up for non-GM foods

Thursday, 20 February, 2014

While the labelling of genetically modified (GM) foods is a hot topic, recent research shows that consumers will not pay extra for non-GM foods. A study from The NPD Group found that 67% of all primary grocery shoppers in the US based their decision to buy or not buy GM foods on price.

Many of the study participants were unable to clearly articulate what GM foods are, despite half expressing some concern about genetically modified organisms. While four in 10 shoppers said they buy mostly non-GM foods, four in 10 said they are not sure how much food they buy is GM.

What was clear was that many did not want to pay extra for non-GM foods, NPD reported. However, a minority of shoppers (11%) were aware and concerned about GM foods and were willing to pay extra for foods labelled as non-GM.

The research also showed that half of consumers who shop primarily at specialty stores are willing to pay more for non-GM products.

“Since more consumers over the last few years have been expressing concerns about GMOs, it’s time to have a dialogue with shoppers about what they are and what roles they play in the food chain,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst.

“Manufacturers and retailers can take an active role in this conversation by helping to educate consumers about GMOs and learning which food and beverage categories face scrutiny among consumers when they are trying to determine if the product contains GMOs. Marketers who wish to get messages out about their products as they relate to GMOs should engage both traditional and social media for effective communication avenues.”

The NPD study, Gauging GMO Awareness and Impact, is available from NPD’s website:

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