U.S. Government Should Lead in Keeping Food Industry Environmentally Sound: Poll

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Twenty-nine percent of Americans said they believe that the federal government should shoulder the most responsibility for ensuring the long-term well-being of the environment in relation to the U.S. food industry, while 25 percent said they think that job should go to food manufacturers, according to a new Harris Poll.

Only 1 percent of respondents said that grocers should have the most responsibility. For the research, 2,372 adults were surveyed last month by Harris Interactive, with input from the Food Marketing Institute.

Nineteen percent of respondents said consumers should take responsibility, while state and local governments were chosen by 17 percent.

On the subject of supermarkets and the environment, 28 percent of respondents said their supermarket is doing something to promote or encourage activities that help ensure the long-term well-being of the environment, while 16 percent say their supermarket isn't doing anything.

Interestingly, 56 percent were unsure of what their supermarket is actually doing. This was particularly the case in the Midwest, where over three in five respondents weren't sure. Those living in the West and East were more likely (36 percent and 33 percent, respectively) to say their supermarkets are doing something.

Respondents had no shortage of thoughts on how supermarkets might become greener. One-quarter of Americans said they'd like to see their supermarket adopt eco-friendly packaging to help the environment. Eighteen percent said supermarkets should recycle plastic bags, and 16 percent said they should offer permanent (cloth) shopping bags.

One in six adults want their supermarkets have glass, bottle, and cardboard recycling, while 8 percent said they should have more green in their parking lots.

If they can afford them, Americans said they would buy a variety of green products. Two-thirds responded that they are very likely to buy energy saving light bulbs, 61 percent are very likely to buy locally grown products, 55 percent are very likely to buy products with recycled content, and 48 percent are very likely to buy rechargeable batteries. Other green products that those surveyed said they were very likely to purchase were environmentally friendly cleaning products, at 44 percent; seasonal produce vs. nonseasonal, at 43 percent; reusable shopping bags, at 42 percent; sustainable seafood, at 38 percent, and organic products, at 27 percent.

Harris Interactive, which conducts the well-known Harris Poll, provides research, insights, and strategic advice to help its clients improve performance. The company serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe, and Asia offices, its wholly owned subsidiaries Novatris in France and MediaTransfer AG in Germany, and through a global network of independent market research firms.
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