Research Outline

Consumer Interest in Food Labels


To obtain data on consumer interest in food labels such as organic, residue-free and non-GMO, including:
  • Whether consumers pay attention to food labels.
  • If they influence purchase decisions.

Early Findings

The first hour of research indicates that data is generally available regarding consumer interest in food labels. As such, an initial set of relevant findings has been provided below, followed by a summary of the first hour of research and a proposed research strategy to gather further insights.

General Interest in Food Labels

  • Linkage Research is one of the major, current authorities on Americans' overall awareness of food certifications and the extent to which these labels influence purchase decisions.
  • Within a research study conducted this past November 2019, the consultant found that US consumers are not only aware of food labels, but rely on such certifications to guide purchase decisions. Specifically:
    • "95% of Americans reported they are aware of one or more food certifications."
    • "59% reported they purchase one or more foods with certifications."
    • "75% of consumers noted that one or more food certifications are important when it comes to choosing which products to buy."
    • "78% of consumers said they are willing to pay a premium for a product with a certification."
  • A subsequent 2020 survey by the Non-GMO Project and Linkage Research corroborated these findings, by reporting that consumers were more likely to purchase products with the following certifications:
    • "USDA organic: 41%."
    • "Non-GMO Project verified: 36%."
    • "Fair Trade certified: 21%."
    • "Certified Plant Based: 16%."
    • "Certified gluten-free: 15%".
  • In particular, NSF International found that consumers are likely to trust food labels when they are certified by an independent, third-party, with 85% stating that they trust such organizations to verify food claims.

Certified Organic

  • Consumer researcher The Hartman Group asserted within the report Organic and Beyond 2020 that "organic remains one of the most prominent and significant markers of quality in foods and beverages in the U.S. today."
  • Linkage Research validated this statement, by finding that 87% of Americans are currently aware of the certification.
  • Moreover, the study revealed that 63% of US households actively seek out organic labels and believe that these "certifications are important when choosing which food products to purchase."
  • Meanwhile, the latest research by Mind Genomics suggested that US consumers are willing to pay an average price premium of $1.87 for organic-labeled products.

Summary of First Hour of Research

  • The research team used the first hour of research to confirm the availability of information about consumer interest in food labels as well as to provide a synthesis of initial findings.
  • Given that a geographic focus was not specified for this project, the research team presented research with a US scope. If a different geographic focus is desired for future research (e.g., global), this could be accommodated in response to a follow-up comment.
  • Overall, initial research indicates that sufficient information exists to provide a comprehensive, corroborated assessment of consumer interest in food labels overall, as well as specifically related to organic, residue-free and non-GMO certifications.
  • Moreover, considering the larger goals of this research engagement, we recommend researching the specific relevance of other key certifications, such as regenerative organic and certified naturally grown.