Consumers Want COOL and Other Labeling on All Foods: Survey

According to a survey commissioned by Deloitte Consulting, LLP, an overwhelming majority of consumers want their foods to clearly display such crucial information as country of origin, so they can make better informed purchasing decisions. Forty-two percent of those polled believe they currently don't have enough information about the food they eat.

Almost nine out of 10 consumers polled said they think meat should be have country-of-origin labeling. Large majorities of those surveyed also wanted COOL labeling for fresh fish (84 percent), fresh fruits and vegetables (80 percent), and packaged food ingredients (69 percent).

The survey further showed that consumers are willing to pay more for such information, with 73 percent saying they would still want COOL labeling even if it meant that food prices would go up slightly.

Consumers' three main food concerns were found to be healthiness of ingredients (61 percent), possible use of chemical ingredients that are detrimental to health (49 percent), and safety of the ingredients (49 percent).

Because of these concerns, many of the consumers surveyed are actively searching for information about the foods they buy. Half of all consumers polled said that they frequently or always read the list of ingredients on an unfamiliar packaged food item, while 52 percent frequently or always read the nutritional information.

But despite such vigilance, 92 percent admitted that they don't understand at least some of the ingredients on a packaged food item, and 78 percent said they don't understand at least some of the nutritional information on a packaged food item. The survey further discovered that 67 percent of those surveyed have gone online to learn more about foods.

In other survey findings, 79 percent of those polled think that meat from cloned animals should be labeled as such in food stores, with 50 percent saying meat from cloned animals shouldn't be available on the U.S. market.

Additionally, 56 percent said they'd be interested in new technologies that would enable them to use their mobile phones to scan a bar code to get back the date of packing for fresh produce and meat, while 56 percent want to be able to scan a bar code on packaging to get a use-by date. Over half of those polled would like to scan a bar code to obtain COOL data.

Conducted online by an independent research company in April, the survey polled a nationally representative sample of 1,110 consumers.
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