Survey Examines Consumer Attitudes and Preferences About Food Safety, Shopping Options, Allergies and Diets; Four Out of Five Surveyed Wants Government to Do More

San FranciscoMarch 18, 2015—Healthline.com, a leading source of timely health information, news and resources, today released findings from a new survey1 examining consumer attitudes towards the various foods they purchase and eat every day. The survey, which was conducted among Healthline.com readers, gleaned insights into current food trends and habits, including thoughts on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food, the benefits of organic foods, the growing prevalence of food allergies, and the decisions behind some of today’s most popular diets. Key survey findings include:

  • Consumers show great concern about genetically engineered foods and want to see more action from the U.S. government around food safety. An overwhelming majority of survey respondents—more than 80 percent—are concerned with the health effects of food that contains GMOs, synthetic pesticides, chemical additives or chemical fertilizers. Approximately 85 percent believe the U.S. government should conduct more testing on the health impact of GMOs and pesticides in food, while 82 percent support a government mandate for all food products to be labeled when they are GMO-free. Additionally, two-thirds of respondents would not knowingly purchase milk from cows that have been given synthetic hormones.
  • Despite the higher cost of organic food, many consumers prefer to buy organics, especially for children. Forty-four percent of consumers say that at least half the groceries they buy are organic, although more than 70 percent of these shoppers report their grocery bills have increased since regularly purchasing organics. Nearly one-third have purchased or would purchase organic food only for the children in the family, with 62 percent saying they do so for health reasons. This might mean having to shop at more than one grocery store to find the right food, which most consumers seem willing to do. Eighty-seven percent of respondents typically visit two or more grocery stores each month, including grocery chains (88 percent), wholesale clubs (28 percent), specialty stores (21 percent), local farmer’s markets or butchers (19 percent), and superstores (18 percent).
  • Food allergies and diets are becoming a way of life for many consumers. More than one-third of households (37 percent) today deal with a food allergy or food sensitivity, with dairy, nuts and gluten at the top of the list. Additionally, 35 percent of consumers are currently on a special diet that eliminates certain food groups, more than half of whom (53 percent) say they do so for medical reasons. The most common diets are gluten-free (38 percent), paleo (36 percent) and dairy-free (35 percent). Food-related diseases have been in the spotlight recently—and more than half of consumers believe food-related diseases are over-hyped in the media (51 percent) and that conditions such as Celiac Disease and gluten-sensitivity are over-prescribed by doctors. Notably, the survey found that approximately half of those who are on gluten-free diets have not been officially diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity or Celiac Disease.

“The types of food that we put in our bodies every day makes up a vital part of our health and well-being,” said David Kopp, EVP and general manager of the Media Group at Healthline. “Healthline.com’s survey findings demonstrate that U.S. consumers are really paying attention to the different food options available for themselves or for their families. Diet trends, such as the gluten-free diet or the more recent paleo diet, have picked up quite a bit of attention, but it will be some time before researchers truly understand the short-term and long-term health effects of these diets, genetically modified foods and organic foods.” For additional survey results and an infographic illustrating data highlights, visit http://www.healthline.com/health-news/healthline-survey-gmos-pesticide-031815. About Healthline Healthline provides intelligent health information and technology solutions that help healthcare organizations and everyday people make more informed healthcare decisions, improve outcomes and reduce costs. Powered by the world’s largest medical taxonomy platform, Healthline’s Health Data Solutions, Health Engagement Solutions and Health Marketing Solutions leverage advanced concept-mapping technology to deliver accurate, actionable insights. Additionally, the company’s consumer website, Healthline.com, delivers relevant, timely health information, news and resources to help consumers manage their health. Healthline is currently used by more than 25 million consumers per month and some of healthcare’s largest brands, including AARP, Aetna, UnitedHealth Group, Microsoft, IBM, GE and Elsevier. For more information, please visit corp.healthline.com and www.healthline.com, or follow @HealthlineCorp and @Healthline on Twitter. 1The survey was conducted among 1,955 Healthline.com readers during December 26, 2014—February 4, 2015. Statistical significance is 95% ± 5%.  

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