For safe, nutritious food, Americans place more trust in smaller scale family farms than in large-scale industrial farms, according to a national consumer opinion poll conducted by Roper Public Affairs.
The Food and Farming 2004 study was conducted by Roper Public Affairs via telephone among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults, age 18 or older. Americans say that smaller scale family farms are more likely to care about food safety than large scale industrial farms by a 71% to 15% margin. More than eight in 10 consumers (85%) say they trust smaller scale family farms to produce safe, nutritious food. Almost twice as many consumers (45%) place a lot of trust in smaller scale family farms compared to large-scale industrial farms (24%).
"Once again, the American public has placed their trust in the family -- the family farm. Small and mid-sized family farmers take great pride in the integrity and quality of the food they produce. We are farming for the next generation and not solely for this year's profits," says George Siemon, founding farmer and CEO of Organic Valley.
Other highlights of the Organic Valley-Roper Food and Farming Survey include:
- Consumers Will Pay More: Two-thirds of Americans say they would pay more for foods produced without chemicals such as pesticides, antibiotics and hormones. Women (71%) are more likely than men (62%) to say they'd pay more. About half of those surveyed (51%) say they would be willing to pay a premium for foods produced with humane treatment of animals. Four in ten (42%) would not.
- Decline of U.S. Farms is Troubling: According to the USDA, the number of U.S. farms has dropped from seven million in the 1930's to about two million today, and 330 farmers leave the land every week. The public is troubled by this pattern. Fully 82% say they are at least somewhat concerned with the decline in the number of American farms; nearly half (46%) are very concerned.
- Important to Know if Food is Grown Locally: Most consumers find it important to know whether food is grown or produced locally or regionally. Overall, 73% of them find this information important, with 38% saying it is very important. Americans living in the Northeast (83%) were more likely to say this was important than those in the South (71%), West (70%) or Midwest (70%).
- Labels Would Have an Impact: Most Americans (73%) report that having food labels specify whether a product was produced with pesticides, hormones, antibiotics or genetically modified ingredients would have an impact on their product choice.