GM food splits opinions across Europe
Findings of the GfK survey on health and nutrition in Europe
Nuremberg, 21 December 2004 - The response to genetically modified (GM) food varies greatly throughout Europe. While Austrians and the French are fervently anti GM food, people in Poland and the UK are paying little attention to this topic. Consumers in the Netherlands have few reservations against food containing genetically modified ingredients. These are some of the findings of GfK's European Consumer Study 2004, for which 9,400 consumers in eight EU countries were asked about their attitudes towards a healthy diet and genetically modified food.
At present, 59 per cent of all Austrian and 51 per cent of French consumers indicated that under no circumstances were they prepared to buy food containing genetically modified ingredients. In Germany, the proportion of people who object to GM products has risen from just under 33 per cent in 2001 to currently 44 per cent. In Spain and Italy, almost 33 per cent of consumers stated "don't know" because they did not feel they had sufficient information to voice an opinion.
Polish and British consumers proved to be the least interested in the topic. In these countries, one in four respondents said they had no interest in the GM food issue.
In the Netherlands one in four consumers, and in the UK one in five, could imagine possibly buying GM products if they formed part of the range of products available.
Most people opt for a healthy diet
With around 30 per cent of consumers indicating that they are very concerned about having a healthy diet, France is by far the most health-conscious of the countries surveyed. In Spain and Italy, 23 and 22 per cent of consumers respectively are very careful when it comes to choosing a healthy diet.
Conversely, with 24 per cent in Germany and 21 per cent in Austria, a higher proportion of consumers indicate that they are not really or not at all concerned about a healthy diet. British consumers are divided on the subject: on the one hand, 23 per cent of consumers who said that they were very concerned about having a healthy diet and on the other, 27 per cent expressed that it was not really or not at all important to them.
As expected, in Poland, where many consumers are cash-strapped, a healthy diet is less important. 36 per cent of Polish consumers said they were not really or not at all concerned about this.
The majority of European consumers indicated that they generally tried to opt for a healthy diet. This attitude was particularly evident in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. Two in three German, Spanish and Dutch consumers are relatively concerned about having a healthy diet.
The above findings are taken from the European Consumer Study 2004. As part of the study, GfK Marktforschung surveyed a total of around 9,400 consumers in the following eight EU countries on behalf of GfK-Nürnberg e.V.: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK. The representative study covers approx. 300 million private consumers in Europe aged 14/15 and over and highlights current trends in the "Health and nutrition" and "House and home" markets.
Established in 1934, GfK-Nürnberg e.V. is an association for the promotion of market research with a membership of just under 700 companies and individuals. The purpose of the association is the carrying out of basic research, the promotion of training and education for market researchers and the regular preparation of studies which are made available to members of the associations. With a 64 per cent stake, GfK Aktiengesellschaft is the main shareholder.
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