Tiffany Lin
January 18, 2016

organic vegetables

Photo courtesy Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Thinkstock

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According to the most recent Thomas Reuters-NPR Health Poll survey, the preference for organic food is less prevalent among older Americans and more prevalent among those with higher education.

Since April 2010, Thomas Reuters and NPR have surveyed approximately 3,000 Americans each month to gauge attitudes and opinions on a wide range of health issues. The latest Thomas Reuters-NPR poll reveals that, when given a choice, 58 percent of Americans choose organic over conventionally produced foods.

“This month’s poll gives us some insight into what is going through consumers’ minds when they’re making the choice of what they will feed themselves and their families,” says Scott Hensley, NPR health correspondent and blogger.

The preference for organic food spikes higher among young adults and highly educated respondents. Sixty-three percent of respondents under the age of 35 prefer organic foods, as do 64 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Among those who prefer organic foods, 36 percent said they do so to support local farmers’ markets, while 34 percent said they want to avoid exposure to toxins in non-organic foods.

“There appears to be a generational difference in preference for organic foods,” says Raymond Fabius, M.D., chief medical officer at the healthcare business of Thomson Reuters. “The strong, positive sentiment among young people indicates they are more concerned with exposure to toxins and place a higher premium on supporting local markets.

“It stands to reason that, by expanding the network of farmer’s markets, we could see a further groundswell around the support for organic foods.”

The poll also reveals that 13 percent of Americans prefer organic food because it tastes better.

“We find it especially intriguing that a very small percentage of respondents are choosing organic foods based on taste,” Hensley says. “This makes organic vs. conventional a really unique case where food decisions are being made consciously by consumers.”

To date, Thomson Reuters and NPR have released surveys on generic drugs, abortion, vaccines, food safety and other healthcare issues.

Click here to view the complete results for this month’s organic food poll.

To learn more about the monthly Thomas-Reuters-NPR Health Poll, click here.

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