Taste is top factor
At the International Food Information Council Foundation, CEO David Schmidt cites IFIC polling that shows taste is still the number-one factor for most consumers’ food choices, followed by price, and then health. “About 20% are focused on the natural, organic food sector, but 80% need information and are up for grabs.
“With the explosion of information sources in the media, with neighbors doing their own blogs, there’s a lot to sort out. Some of the major gatekeepers [making food decisions] tend to be impressionable,” he says. “They want ‘natural,’ but unfortunately they make judgments based on misinformation.”
Both the Corn Refiners Association (CRA), representing the HFCS industry, and corn grower groups are very involved in providing the information consumers lack at the county fair, at grocery stores, explains Mark Lambert, senior communications manager for NCGA.
“They reach out to the ‘mommy bloggers,’ bringing people out to the farm to learn about food.”
The CRA launched a 2008 national educational campaign (see www.sweetsurprise.com).
CRA also works to set the record straight with food and beverage companies. A second website, www.cornnaturally.com, provides information on consumer preferences, scientific data and a sweetener cost comparison tool.