Only a small number of U.S. consumers are aware of activism related to biotechnology, according to a recent report from the US United Soybean Board (USB).
The findings, suggests the USB's 2001-2002 Annual Report on Consumer Attitudes About Nutrition, indicate that consumers are reticent about accepting the negative message linked to biotechnology.
According to USB's survey, 48 per cent of consumers responded that they do not know enough about biotechnology to say how they view the use of genetically modified ingredients in food products. Out of the 62 per cent who were aware of the term "genetically modified," only 19 per cent were aware of activist groups linked to the issue. Out of that 19 per cent, 80 per cent say they have not taken any action such as boycotting products or writing to food companies, based on information that activist groups have provided.
"If you project this back to the total population represented in our survey, less than four per cent of consumers have taken any action in regard to genetically modified food," stated Mississippi soybean farmer and USB Board member Jerry Slocum.
"We have seen some high profile food companies and retailers come under attack as anti-biotech activists claim that consumers are demanding non-biotech ingredients. Some of these companies have made concessions, only to be met with more demands from activist groups.
According to our research, these food companies may be spending millions at a time when resources are becoming more scarce, to address a concern that is held by a very small minority of the population," Slocum stated.
The United Soybean Board is a US farmer-led organisation comprising of 62 farmer-directors.