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Majority of grocery shoppers won’t pay more for non-GMO


February 19, 2014
By Bakers Journal

Feb. 19, 2014, Chicago – Two-thirds of primary grocery
shoppers will not pay more for non-GMO products, but half of specialty store
shoppers will, suggests new market research from NPD Group.

The labeling of genetically-modified (GMO) foods is at the
centre of debate across the U.S., but the decision to buy or not buy non-GMO
foods often is based on price. A recent NPD food market research study on GMO
awareness and concern among consumers finds that 67 per cent of all primary
grocery shoppers are not willing to pay a higher price for non-GMO foods.

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Over half of U.S. consumers express some level of concern
about genetically-modified organisms, but when asked to describe GMOs, many
primary grocery shoppers are unclear, which may be a factor in their
unwillingness to pay a higher price for non-GMO foods, finds the NPD study
entitled “Gauging GMO
Awareness and Impact
”.

Also unclear to consumers is the prevalence of GMO versus
non-GMO items at the grocers. Four out of 10 primary grocery shoppers either
feel that they buy non-GMOs mostly while the same ratio of consumers say they
are not sure.  

What many grocery shoppers appear to be certain of is that
they do not want to pay more for non-GMO foods and beverages, reports NPD.
There is, however, a subset of grocery shoppers who are aware and concerned
about GMOs who are willing to pay more, which amounts to about 11 per cent of
all primary shoppers. Additionally, half of people who primarily shop specialty
stores are willing to pay more for non-GMO products, indicates the study. 

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