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.

What’s your take? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.

Submitted by Thomas on Fri, 11/03/2017 - 16:55

Organics is as big or bigger scam than global warming. There are no health benefits to eating organics, the masses are being mislead all in the name of profits. Show these people the fields after they have been fertilized for an organic crop. Everybody in life wants to take that magical happy pill, well organics wont make you happier or healthier, save your money and invest in a gym membership and possibly a nutrition book. Im sure organic cigarettes and vodka are very healthy!!! As an industry we must stop lying to consumers, total sham.