U.S. Consumers Most Worried About Economy, Rising Costs

The economy is still consumers’ biggest concern, according to the most recent consumer survey by the Center for Food Integrity (CFI), a not-for-profit corporation with the goal of building consumer trust and confidence in the contemporary U.S. food system. The next most pressing consumer worries were rising energy costs, rising food costs, rising health care costs and personal financial situation, while global warming came in last out of 11 issues.

“The top five issues each had a mean score above eight on a 0-to-10 scale, which indicates a very high level of concern on a national survey,” explained Jan Wilson of Nevada, Iowa-based Gestalt, Inc., which conducted the survey for CFI. Over 2,000 consumers took part in the nationwide poll, which was conducted in August and September.

Food safety was the highest-ranked non-economic issue for the second straight year, once more rating higher than consumer concern over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“This is consistent with the results of our national focus group research in April,” said Terry Fleck, executive director of Kansas City, Mo.-based CFI. “Consumers told us their priorities are food that is safe, affordable and nutritious. The number and frequency of high-profile food safety incidents over the past several years [has resulted] in heightened consumer awareness.”

Complete survey results will be unveiled at the CFI 2009 Food System Summit, which is set for Oct. 6 to Oct. 7 in Kansas City. The event is open to the public. For more information, visit www.foodintegrity.org.

The top 11 consumer concerns are as follows:

Issue Mean

The U.S. Economy 8.44

Rising Energy Costs 8.29

Rising Cost of Food 8.23

Rising Health Care Costs 8.21

Personal Financial Situation 8.04

Food Safety 7.67

U.S. Military Involvement in
Iraq and Afghanistan 7.22

Access to Accurate Information
to Make Healthy Food Choices 6.60

Humane Treatment of Farm animals 6.43

Obesity in America 6.37

Global Warming 6.05
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