Food Demand Survey (FooDS) - July 2015

The July 2015 edition of the Food Demand Survey (FooDS) is now out.  

Overall, there seemed to be a slight reduction in demand for most meat products this month compared to June as indicated by a reduction in WTP, a reduction in expectation of price increases, and a reduction in planned purchases.  Some of this might have to do with the fact that there was an uptick in planned expenditures away from home, perhaps due to vacations.

Awareness of and concern for bird flu fell this month compared to last.  In July, there was an increase in awareness and concern among those issues that tend to fall at the bottom of the scale of concern.

Several ad-hoc questions were added this month.  

Overall, respondents were generally satisfied with their lives.  They were asked:  “All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days? Using the scale below, where 1 means you are “completely dissatisfied’ and 10 means you are “completely satisfied”, where would you put your satisfaction with your life as a whole?”

Similar to last month, the most popular response was an 8. 

Despite that, there seemed to be some pessimism with regard to the future in general and food and agriculture in specific.  

We asked,  “If you could be born at any time when would it be?” Participants stating they would choose to be born “in the past, 50 years ago” ranked the highest of the groups
at 31.21%. This may correspond to the category which most closely matched the lag in time from which participants were actually born (i.e., they preferred to be born when they were actually born).  Only 18.1% of participants stated they would choose to be born now.  Less than 20% said they would want to be born in the future.

Participants were also asked: “Overall, when you think about the state of food and agriculture in this country, do you think . . .” About 32% of respondents stated that “things are getting a little worse” for food and agriculture in this country, while only 19% of respondents agreed that “things are getting a little better”. About 27% of respondents stated that “things are about the same as they have been”.

Finally, Brandon McFadden from the University of Florida suggested a question that is a riff off a popular internet infographic showing the number of genes affected by different plant breeding techniques.  

Participants were asked: “For each of the following plant breeding techniques, how many genes are typically altered in the process?” Consistent with the comments in my recent Washington Post interview, the vast majority most consumers do not know how many genes are affected by any plant breeding techniques. Among those who stated an opinion,” selection” ranked the highest, at 7.65%, for not having any genes altered. For selection, having 1 to 4 genes altered ranked highest amongst participants at 11.8%. Hybridization was ranked highest by 11.8% of participants for having 5 to 9 genes altered. About 9% of participants stated that 10 to 19 genes were altered using genetic modification. Genetic modification was the highest of the group of 20 more genes affected at 7.14%.