NEW YORK — Eating healthy is typically one of the most common New Year’s resolutions each year, so why is it that so many people can’t seem to stick to a healthier, more balanced diet? According to a new survey of 2,000 Americans, the answer is a combination of higher prices for organic goods and mistrust in the country’s food industry.
The survey’s findings indicate that most Americans would at least like to eat healthier food, but a mix of higher prices, confusion regarding food labeling, and a lack of trust in consumer foods make it hard for the average U.S. consumer to confidently find and purchase healthier food alternatives.
Three in four respondents said they would be more likely to buy a food product if the labeling said “organic,” and three in five claimed they would at least pick up and consider a food item if the packaging included “all natural.”
However, only one in five respondents claimed to fully trust food packaging, and 57% claimed only partial trust in U.S. food packaging.
“Consumers can be mislead with labeling with broad claims like [contains] organic or natural ingredients, this suggests that ‘only’ part of the ingredients are organic and the rest conventional. This is a common way to charge more for a partial organic product. This is done to misdirect the consumer into thinking that all of the ingredients are organic, while maybe only one is actually organic, and that is what the label calls out, so a consumer automatically believes that all of the ingredients are organic and safe,” explains Milo Shammas, CEO of Dr. Earth, in a statement.
Mistrust and unhappiness with the American food industry is especially high among young people, with 56% of respondents aged 18-24 reporting no faith in food advertising whatsoever. Also, a whopping 72% of respondents said they are concerned about unknowingly eating chemical pesticides in their food.
Many Americans have a real problem with this perceived lack of adequate food information; three in four respondents reported that they wish they knew more about the food they are putting on the table for their families each night. In fact, 52% of respondents said starting their own backyard garden for fruits and vegetables would be a cheaper alternative to more traditional grocery shopping, and 30% said they would consider planting their own garden just so they know exactly where their food is coming from.
“Control of our food is the greatest control of all, if we know what we apply to our soils, we know what is growing out of our soils, we have the peace of mind of knowing our food is clean,” says Shammas.