IGD has published the latest findings of its tracking survey of UK shoppers’ attitudes towards genetically modified foods, comparing current views with those held in 2003 and 2008, as part of its ShopperVista subscription. The key findings are:
GM is usually presented as a highly polarised topic. However, the majority of shoppers (51%) neither support not oppose GM foods. This compares with 13% who are opposed strongly and 3% strongly in favour.
Media coverage of the topic has become broader based, with more comment devoted to the potential of GM crops. However, attitudes to GM foods have remained broadly constant. The proportion of shoppers who neither support not oppose GM foods was also 52% in 2008.
While shoppers claim to know more about GM foods than they did four years ago, most still believe that they have only a limited understanding – just 21% of shoppers claim to have a good or very good knowledge (an increase from 14% in 2008).
There is a link between strength of opinion towards GM foods and claimed level of knowledge. Shoppers who claim more knowledge of GM foods tend to have a stronger opinion about it, either for or against.
Shoppers are slightly more open to the possibility of GM foods providing certain benefits in 2008, although the majority perceive that GM foods provide a balance of risk and potential benefits. The passage of time alone has not significantly altered opinion, and the research shows that shoppers need more information to decide one way or the other.
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