Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Iowa State consumer survey shows links between local foods, climate change, food safety

02.10.2007
A recent survey shows that American consumers are skeptical about the safety of the global food system and many believe that local foods are safer and better for their health than foods from afar.

These are the views of a representative, nationwide sample of 500 consumers who participated in a web-based survey conducted by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture in July 2007. Their responses are summarized in a new Leopold Center report, "Consumer perceptions of the safety, health, and environmental impact of various scales and geographic origin of food supply chains." The paper was written by Rich Pirog, who leads the Center's Marketing and Food Systems Initiative, and Iowa State University graduate student Andy Larson.

Objectives of the study were to gauge consumer perceptions regarding:

Food safety,

The impact that various scales and production methods of the food system have on greenhouse gas emissions,

Willingness to pay for a food system that achieves a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and

Health benefits from local and organic foods.

Survey respondents placed high importance on food safety, freshness (harvest date), and pesticide use on fresh produce they purchase, with somewhat lower importance placed on whether the produce was locally grown, the level of greenhouse gas emissions it took to produce and transport the produce, and whether the respondent could contact the farmer who grew it.

Pirog said that while 70 percent of the respondents perceived the U.S. food system to be safe, concern was raised when they were asked about the safety of fresh produce from other continents. Eighty-five percent and 88 percent of respondents, respectively, perceived local and regional food systems to be somewhat safe or very safe, compared to only 12 percent for the global food system.

Health factors also have an effect on consumer attitudes. More than two-thirds of respondents (69 percent) “somewhat” or “strongly” agreed that local food is better for their personal health than food that has traveled across the country. This is in spite of the fact that there is little or no research documenting such benefits, Pirog noted.

Are consumers willing to pay more for food from supply chains that emit half as much greenhouse gas as conventional chains? Nearly half of respondents in the survey were willing to pay a 10 to 30 percent premium, but a similar percentage was not.

"With the dramatic rise in popularity of local foods, the farmers who grow these foods and the organizations that champion both the farmers and the foods will be called upon to prove the existence of economic, environmental and health benefits stemming from these products, and to ensure their continued safety as part of the food supply," Pirog said.

He pointed out that the findings show a critical need for more research. "Government agencies, universities, health professionals, private companies and non-profit organizations need to work with farmers growing and processing local foods to develop an appropriate research agenda for these food supply chains," he added.

In 2001, Pirog led some of the first research in the United States on the concept of "food miles," the distance that food travels from where it is grown to where it is purchased for consumption. He also has investigated consumer perceptions of local, place-based and organic foods.

The 45-page report is available on the Leopold Center web site at:
http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/pubs/staff/consumer/consumer.htm.
The Leopold Center also offers a competitive grants program across all three research initiatives in Marketing and Food Systems, Ecology, and Policy. Through its research and education programs, the Leopold Center supports the development of profitable farming systems that conserve natural resources. Center funding comes from state appropriations and from fees on nitrogen fertilizer and pesticides, as established by the 1987 Iowa Groundwater Protection Act.

Laura Miller | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.iastate.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

nachricht First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>