Consumers Don't Care that Farmers Feed the World

The Lempert Report
May 05, 2015

What do consumers actually care about?

When Farmers look to gain support for modern farming practices and production systems by using the phrase "we feed the world"… apparently, they're wasting their time! According to latest research from The Center for Food Integrity most consumers don’t care that farmers feed the world. 

Charlie Arnot, CEO of CFI, told us, “The global population is forecast to reach nine billion by 2050. Feeding the nine billion will require technology and innovation that will help farmers raise more animals for food and grow more crops on the land already in production. But the ‘feeding the world’ message won’t generate public support for today’s agriculture technology.”

This latest research from CFI,  “Cracking the Code on Food Issues: Insights from Moms, Millennials and Foodies,” shows that only 25 percent of consumers believe, that the U.S. has a responsibility to provide food for the rest of the world.

So what do consumers care about? According to those who took the survey, the top concern is having access to healthy, affordable food. “U.S. consumers are much more interested in access to healthy, affordable food than in feeding the world,” Arnot said. “Farmers are more likely to build support for today’s farming by talking about how what they do on the farm helps keep healthy food affordable.”

Farmers who are looking to connect with consumers should focus on how practices are relevant to them. How what values are important to you, are pertinent to them. So, for example, explaining how modern farming innovations like  genetically modified seed and indoor animal handling systems allow farmers to produce safe food using fewer resources, with the added benefit of holding down costs.

For retailers, understanding consumers primary concerns is important also. While shoppers should be aware and have an appreciation for helping the world beyond their own community, the initial appeal needs to be, how can this product or this practice benefit the consumer?