A graph from the study “Effects of the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard: Willingness To Pay for Labels that Communicate the Presence or Absence of Genetic Modification” shows the difference in what consumers will spend on products based on their labels. (Graph courtesy of Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy)
There’s no doubt organic food has a health halo, as organic produce sales grow each year, but consumers may not know why they’re buying it.
A new study shows consumers see organic and non-GMO labels as interchangeable, which isn’t really a good thing.
The study’s authors surveyed more than 1,000 consumers about what they would pay for a pack of granola bars or a pound of apples based on their labels.
“For apples, the results revealed large and statistically significant substitution effects for Non-GMO and USDA Organic labels,” the authors stated in the paper. “In fact, results indicated that the two are almost perfect substitutes as (willingness to pay) premiums for apples with both Non-GMO and USDA Organic labels are roughly the same as (willingness to pay) premiums for apples that display only one label.”
The investment growers put into growing certified organic crops far exceeds a GMO-free certification, and both grower-shippers and retailers need to continue to educate consumers as to the benefits of organic fruits and vegetables.
The most recent retail sales figures from The Nielsen Co. show organic produce grew 9% in dollars year-over-year and represented a 10% share of total produce through the end of August.
It’s important to keep a positive message about organic produce, and not at the expense of conventional produce, like non-GMO labels imply, even though nearly all fresh fruits and vegetables have no genetic modification.
Consumers need more options to raise produce consumption, not fewer.
Want to know more about organic produce? Register for The Packer’s inaugural Global Organic Produce Expo, Jan. 25-27, in Hollywood, Fla.
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