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Survey shows consumers want food made with U.S. crops

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The United Soybean Board released results of a new survey, highlighting consumer perceptions of U.S. farmers and the U.S. food supply chain. According to the survey, consumer support of domestic agriculture has only grown stronger, with 78 percent of consumers — an 8 percent increase since the last survey in December 2020 — saying it’s important to purchase U.S.-grown food.

“It’s encouraging to see support of U.S. agriculture increase over the past year, a true testament to the work of soybean farmers through their checkoff to strengthen consumer perceptions of U.S.-grown soybeans,” said Belinda Burrier, Chair of USB’s Communication and Education Committee and a soybean farmer from Maryland. “Understanding our customers’ attitudes is a critical component as our investments aim to demonstrate the nutritional value of soybeans, ultimately increasing demand and bringing value back to the farm.”

Other key takeaways from the study include: 

  • U.S. farmers continue to be the most trusted source when it comes to food safety, with 83 percent of consumers ranking them number one among members of the supply chain, an increase of 5 percent since the last survey in December 2020.
  • The vast majority of consumers, 82 percent, have a very/somewhat positive view of U.S. farmers who grow crops, including soybeans. This is a 3 percent increase since the December 2020 survey. 
  • Soy is seen as healthy by more than half of consumers, with 60 percent saying that soy-based food is somewhat/very healthy and 26 percent having a neutral view of soy. However, only 39 percent are aware that the soybeans used in popular foods are grown sustainably.

With promotion and education being key pillars of the checkoff, the survey validated that informing consumers is an effective tool, with 72 percent of respondents feeling more positive about soy as a food ingredient after learning about the sustainability of soybeans. Likewise, communicating about soy as a high-quality “complete” protein proved to be the most impactful statement on consumers’ perception of soy, highlighting an essential opportunity to demonstrate its excellent protein profile to health-conscious consumers. 

“Driving home soy as a complete protein, coupled with awareness that this product is sustainably grown, poses a real opportunity for our industry to raise the profile of soyfoods,” said Mace Thornton, vice president of communications and marketing strategy for USB. “Insights from this survey will inform investment decisions of the checkoff’s farmer-led Communication and Education Committee and ultimately help deliver sustainable soy solutions to every life, every day.” 

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