Consumer Attitudes Toward GMOs, Frozen Fruit, and Beautiful Food

GMOTwo recent surveys dealing with consumer attitudes toward foods make sense. One is  surprisingly illogical. Let's find out what gets people buying or eating certain foods, according to  these three surveys.

Increasing Concerns about GMOs

NPD Group, a market research company, has been investigating consumer attitudes toward GMOs. One NPD Group survey found that 57% of U.S. adults questioned expressed some level of concern about consuming food containing genetically modified ingredients.  The percentage was an increase of 14% since 2002. 

Moreover, the number of respondents who  said they were  "very" or "extremely" concerned   had risen from 10% to 20% since 2002.  BUT another NPD study found that, when consumers were asked to explain what GMO products are, the most common answer was "I don't know."  Other common answers were "processed in some way" or "not natural." 

In addition, NPD Group found that, despite widespread fears of  this mysterious ogre called GMO, 2/3 of those queried were not willing to pay more for non-GMO foods. The NPD Group studies were summarized in the Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter.

It's worth pointing out that the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science)-- along with other scientific bodies--has concluded that "consuming foods containing ingredients derived from GM crops is no riskier than consuming the same foods containing ingredients from crop plants modified by conventional plant improvement techniques." 

Shelf Life Advice has a great deal of information on GM (or GE) products.  This site's longest article is  on the topic "Is Genetically Engineered Food Safe?"  Check it out to learn more. 

Increasing Acceptance of Frozen Fruit

Consumers are buying more frozen fruit than they did in the past. This is a smart move since scientists tell us (and more consumers now know) that, in general, frozen products are just as healthy as fresh ones. and, in some cases, may even be healthier since they are usually frozen very soon after being harvested whereas some fresh products may have been lying around  awhile, losing nutrients.

Also reported by the Tufts Letter, this information came from FoodNavigator-USA: Compared to the previous year, dollar sales of frozen fruit rose 13.4% in 2014.  Frozen fruit sales topped $1 billion, which is more than three times the $300 million level of the past decade. 

What frozen fruits are most popular? Sales leaders are mixed  berries, mixed fruit, tropical fruit, mango, and pineapple.

A survey commissioned by Dole Packaged Foods concluded that the  following were the reasons for the growing popularity of frozen fruit: 1) a growing awareness among consumers that frozen fruit is just as nutritious as fresh fruit, and 2) the fact that consumers are making more smoothies.   Frozen fruit is ideal for making smoothies (if you want your drink very cold) and has the additional advantage of being available all year round.

The appeal of the attractive plate

Consumers Reports on Health summarized  the results of a Culinary Institute of America study that concluded the following:: "Diners who were served the same chicken dish two nights in a row liked it more when it was artfully arranged."  The article goes on to reassure readers that they don't need to be professional chefs to achieve artistry on the dinner plate. Here's one  tip: "A simple stack  of vegetables or whole grains on the bottom, a chicken breast in the middle, and a colorful garnish on top gives a meal height and dimension." 

 For additional tips on how to make meals more attractive, go to this Shelf Life Advice article: "Tips on Making Food Appealing, Food Safety, And BPA (again)."  You'll find suggestions for ways to use contrast--in color, texture, temperature, and flavor--to create a food display that's irresistible.  Happy dining! 


Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, "Newsbites: GMO Food Fears on the Rise, But Consumers Reluctant to Pay to Avoid," July 2015.

Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter," "Newsbites: Shoppers Rediscovering Frozen Fruit," July 2015.

 Consumer Reports on Health, "Food Sense: Make It Look Nice," September 2015.



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