Consumer perceptions of regenerative agriculture

American consumers are less familiar with regenerative agriculture compared to other food production methods, according to a recent survey by the International Food Information Council.

Ali Webster is the director of research and nutrition communications for the council.

“Fewer than one out of every five people that we surveyed had ever heard of the term and you can contrast this with the fact that most people have heard of terms like organic farming or sustainable farming,” she says.  

She tells Brownfield once consumers surveyed were familiar with the definition of regenerative agriculture – farming that aims to restore and maintain optimal levels of nutrients and microorganisms in the soil – they viewed those practices as having a positive impact on land and human health.

“Three out of every 10 people said that choosing products made with regenerative agriculture practices had the most beneficial impact on the land food is grown on compared to some other agricultural practices. This was far and away above the number who said the same about choosing non-GMO foods or foods labeled as organic. After being told a definition of what regenerative agriculture and some of the practices, people were willing to associate regenerative agriculture with its benefits on agricultural land,” she says. “Also, over a third of survey takers said they think foods grown with regenerative agriculture are more nutritious than food grown without using these practices.”  

But, consumers say they aren’t willing to pay more for a product made with regenerative agriculture.

“Only about one in every three people said that they might be willing to pay even a $1 more for food that was labeled as being grown using those techniques,” she says. 

Webster says this is consistent with work IFIC has done around sustainability. She says although people care about the environment, it’s challenging for them to prioritize these issues over price, taste, and convenience.

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