Majority of Primary Grocery Shoppers Won’t Pay More for Non-GMO

food-healthyHalf of specialty store shoppers are willing to pay extra for non-GMO products, NPD Group finds.

The labeling of genetically-modified (GMO) foods is at the center of debate across the country, but the decision to buy or not buy non-GMO foods often is based on price, according to The NPD Group, a global information company.

A recent NPD food market research study on GMO awareness and concern among consumers finds that 67% of all primary grocery shoppers are not willing to pay a higher price for non-GMO foods.

Over half of U.S. consumers express some level of concern about genetically-modified organisms, but when asked to describe GMOs, many primary grocery shoppers are unclear, which may be a factor in their unwillingness to pay a higher price for non-GMO foods, finds the NPD study entitled Gauging GMO Awareness and Impact. Also unclear to consumers is the prevalence of GMO versus non-GMO items at the grocers. Four out of 10 primary grocery shoppers either feel that they buy non-GMOs mostly while the same ratio of consumers says they are not sure.

What many grocery shoppers appear to be certain of is that they do not want to pay more for non-GMO foods and beverages, reported NPD. There is, however, a subset of grocery shoppers who are aware and concerned about GMOs who are willing to pay more, which amounts to about 11% of all primary shoppers. Additionally, half of people who primarily shop specialty stores are willing to pay more for non-GMO products, according to the NPD food and beverage market research.

“Since more consumers over the last few years have been expressing concerns about GMOs, it’s time to have a dialog with shoppers about what they are and what roles they play in the food chain, ” said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “Manufacturers and retailers can take an active role in this conversation by helping to educate consumers about GMOs, and learning which food and beverage categories face scrutiny among consumers when they are trying to determine if the product contains GMOs. Marketers who wish to get messages out about their products as they relate to GMOs should engage both traditional and social media for effective communication avenues.”





  1. Grant Ingle says:

    I think this research is misleading because social scientists long ago established that peoples’ attitudes are not predictive of their behavior. Furthermore, consumer behavior is quickly changing as can be seen by looking at sales figures. Sales of foods labeled as “organic” and “Non-GMO-Verified” have been growing at an annual rate of 12-14% for the last several years. At this rate, by 2017 30% of ALL the food purchased by American consumers will be non-GMO, and that’s without mandatory labeling of GMOs. With GMO labeling in place, the percentage could be 40% or higher. Recent studies suggest that this annual growth rate may increase even more since consumer concerns about GMO food safety have reached a tipping point with over 50% of shoppers now expressing this concern, up from 20% in 2004.

    Savvy food companies like Post Foods and many others anticipating this trend have been quietly sourcing non-GMO ingredients and reformulating their products as “Non-GMO Verified” (e.g. Post Grape-Nuts) or organic. This has driven up demand for organic and non-GMO crops and smart farmers are responding by switching away from GMO crops because for non-GMO and organic crops the seed costs are less, the yields are higher, and they get a premium price per bushel at harvest. If I owned a convenience store, I know what I would be stocking more of…

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