The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance Board of Directors heard highlights of the 2017 Consumer Perception Research at their bi-annual board meeting in St. Louis.
Among the findings:
- 34% of Americans strongly trust farmers and ranchers, a significant increase from 24% in 2015. Additionally, nearly half of consumers say that U.S. farmers and ranchers are heading the right direction with how food is grown and raised.
- Trust in farmers and ranchers has grown over the past three years. In 2017, 44% of consumers feel that U.S. farmers and ranchers are heading in the right direction compared to 33% in 2014.
- Consumers say they intend to cut back on beef, pork, and dairy products in 2018 and look to alternatives (i.e. nut-based milk, plant-based protein) they perceive to be part of a clean diet.
- Interest in locally-sourced foods is increasing - Consumers more strongly trust local farming than they do organic, natural or conventional farming.
- Americans continue to carefully consider labels when making food purchases - In 2017, nearly 75% of consumers say they either "always" or "often" read product labels in the grocery store. Of all the product labels, Americans are primarily on the lookout for "hormone-free" and "no-antibiotics," which are major drivers of purchase.
- More Americans are cautiously optimistic about the treatment of food animals - Americans tend to feel that animals are well cared for, though the majority still express concerns. In 2017, 52% of consumers believed that animals were well cared for on farms compared to 43% in 2016.
In other business:
- Cameron Gibson was elected to the board. Gibson is a Virginia crop farmer. "It is an honor to represent the United Soybean Board on the USFRA Board,” he said. “I hope to help enlighten food influencers and end users about the value, sustainability, and usefulness not only of our U.S. soybean crop, but also for other farming and ranching practices."
- USFRA highlighted its new app, engAGe, which aims to activate farmer and rancher voices on digital and social media platforms. The app has garnered nearly 500 users.
Source: U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance