Survey shows biotech wheat interest

by Jeff Gelski
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WASHINGTON — A majority of consumers likely would purchase bread, crackers, cookies, cereals or pasta made with flour from wheat that had been modified by biotechnology to use less land, water and/or pesticides, according to the International Food Information Council’s 2012 “Consumer perceptions of food technology” survey. Forty-two per cent said they would be somewhat likely to buy the products, which compared with 47% in a 2010 survey, and 28% said they would be very likely, which compared with 26% in 2010. Cogent Research, Cambridge, Mass., polled 752 U.S. adults using an on-line survey tool March 7-19.

IFIC presents the survey every two years. The 2012 survey also found 43% would be somewhat likely and 28% would be very likely to buy a food product made with oils that had been modified by biotechnology to provide more healthful fats like omega-3 fatty acids. The 2012 percentages compared with 2010 percentages of 45% somewhat likely and 31% very likely.

Also in the 2012 survey, 47% said they would be somewhat likely and 30% said they would be very likely to purchase a variety of produce, like corn, lettuce, tomatoes or potatoes, if they had been modified by biotechnology to be protected from insect damage and required fewer pesticide applications. The 2012 percentages compared with 2010 percentages of 48% somewhat likely and 29% very likely.

According to the survey, 74% of Americans are aware of plant biotechnology and 38% are favorable toward its use, which is up from 32% in the 2010 survey.

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