The December 2016 edition of the Food Demand Survey (FooDS) is now out.
The regular tracking portion of the survey showed a decline in willingness-to-pay (WTP) for all meat products (except hamburger which was virtually unchanged) relative to last month. Willingness-to-pay for all meat products is markedly lower than last year at this time. For a bit of perspective, here are changes in WTP for four meat products expressed relative to the first issue of FooDS (May 2013).
While the current data shows a slight downward tick in current spending on food away from home, recall that this corresponds to the past two weeks, and anticipating spending away from home is less negative than it usually is.
We added several ad hoc questions to study consumer response to the new GMO labels that may appear in the future as a result of the national mandatory labeling law. Results of those questions will be released at a later date. In addition, we asked some questions related to preferences regarding the regulation of crop breeding techniques.
The following question was posed: “Crops produced through certain types of genetic engineered that involve the transfer of genes from one species to another (i.e., “foreign DNA”) are currently regulated by three U.S. agencies (the USDA, FDA, and EPA) to check for environmental impacts and impacts on human health. By contrast, crops produced through traditional breeding methods, include hybridization, are not regulated by the U.S. government. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements?”
Individuals responded on a five-point scale (1=strongly disagree, 2=somewhat disagree, 3=neither disagree nor agree, 4=somewhat agree, or 5=strongly agree) to six statements: i) Regulations on traditional crop breeding are too weak, ii) Regulations on genetically engineered crops involving “foreign” DNA are too weak, iii) New crop breeding and genetic techniques that do not involve “foreign” DNA should be regulated the same as traditional crop breeding techniques, iv) New crop breeding and genetic techniques that do not involve “foreign” DNA should be regulated the same as genetically engineered crops involving “foreign” DNA, v) Genetics and crop breeding should be regulated based on health and environmental outcomes rather than the processed used to create new crops, and vi) I do not know enough about these issues to say how crop breeding should be regulated.
The most common answer was “neither agree nor disagree” for all statements. “Regulations on traditional crop breeding are too weak” received the least agreement while “genetics and crop breeding should be regulated based on health and environmental outcomes rather than the processed used to create new crops” received the highest level of agreement, though a level similar to that of the remaining statements.