Consumers have unanswered questions on GM food

Posted by Isobel Drake on 6th October 2008

GM food trials

Research released UK by food and grocery expert IGD suggests that consumers want more information on Genetically Modified (GM) foods before forming a strong opinion one way or the other.

IGD has closely monitored consumer attitudes to GM food, alongside many other issues, over the last ten years. The latest research involved IGD talking to 7,000 shoppers during spring and early autumn 2008.

The research shows that opinions have changed very little since the issue reached mass public attention almost a decade ago, and did not change much over the summer, despite the further increased media profile caused by rising food prices.

* The majority of people (54%) remain undecided, saying that they either do not know enough about GM or that they neither oppose or support GM foods
* 48% of people say that their knowledge of GM foods is poor, with only 17% saying it is good or very good
* When asked for a definition of GM foods, only 7% can accurately describe them

“Consumers want to make informed decisions, and when it comes to GM foods, they still have many unanswered questions. Although 17% say that their knowledge is good, only 7% can actually provide an accurate description of GM when probed,” Joanne Denney-Finch, Chief Executive, IGD. “Nearly half of consumers are yet to form a view about the effect of GM foods on the environment. They want to know more about the potential nutritional benefits, if there are any. And while many believe that GM could help feed a growing world population, they are not certain about it, and a third feel unable to give an opinion.”