Food Demand Survey (FooDS) - February 2015

The newest release of the Feed Demand Survey (FooDS) is now out.

Compared to last month, we found 8% to 15% jumps in willingness-to-pay (WTP) for both beef products (steak and hamburger) and for deli ham.  There was also a sizable increase (9%) in spending on food away from home relative to last month.  

Following up on all the controversy surrounding last month's question on DNA labeling, we delved into the issue again, but this time in a slightly different way.  First, we asked the question in isolation (on a single page by itself), rather than in a list with other food policy issues (Ben Lillie had argued in a blog post following our last result our result was at least partially due tot he fact that the DNA label issue appeared in a list with other issues).  Secondly, the question was reworded so that it was clear that the label was meant to indicate the presence absence of DNA.  The precise wording was, "Do you support or oppose mandatory labels on foods that would indicate the presence or absence of DNA?"  The choice options were support or oppose (the order of which was randomized across respondents). We found essentially the same result as before, 83.5% of respondents supported DNA labeling (note: sample size is 1,001, sampling error is +/-3%, sample weighted to match the population demographics).   

I also looked at the demographic breakdown of those who answered support vs. oppose.  For those who supported, 43%  had a college degree, 49% were female, 46% were Democrats, and 20% were Republications; for those who opposed, 58% had a college degree, 45% were female, 38% were Democrats, and 28% were Republicans. Education and political party affiliation appear to be partial drivers of support for DNA labeling.

Then, on a following page, we asked a number of true/false questions to gauge people's knowledge about DNA, genetics, etc.

Most respondents, 64.6%, correctly knew it was false that "ordinary tomatoes do not contain genes while genetically modified tomatoes do."  However, a remarkably high number of respondents, 52%, said it was false that "all vegetables contain DNA", and only 58.6% that it was true that "yeast for brewing beer contains living organisms."