To be effective in our agvocacy efforts, we need to know exactly whom we’re talking to. This requires having a conversation and listening, really listening. I’ve always found it helpful to have some background knowledge on what the average consumer thinks. In no way does this take the place of listening, but it does give us a vague idea to work with.
• 72 percent of consumers know nothing or very little about farming or ranching
• 69 percent of consumers think about food production at least somewhat often
• 70 percent say purchase decisions are affected by how food is grown and raised, with three-quarters (72 percent) of Americans saying they think about this topic while purchasing groceries
• 42 percent or two-in-five Americans say the way that food is grown and raised has improved in the last 10 years, while a slightly smaller group say it has worsened (37 percent)
• Of all the aspects of how food is grown and raised, Americans are most satisfied with the availability of healthy foods (73 percent) and food safety standards (66 percent)
• One in five consumers who say food production has worsened in the last 10 years cite environmental impact as the top area of demise
• 79 percent of consumers say producing healthy choices for all consumers is very important for farmers and ranchers to consider when planning farming and ranching practices
Consumers also were asked to identify the top five topics they want more information about; responses included:
1. How chemicals are used in farming/ranching
2. How pesticides are used in farming/ranching
3. Food safety standards
4. Effect of government regulations on farming/ranching
5. How antibiotics are used and genetic engineering in crops
Now that we have a bit of background information on consumer thinking/knowledge, next week we’ll focus on how to talk to consumers.