October 20, 2015 | By

Americans Hungry for Food Information

There is a growing interest in food in the United States: where it comes from, how it is made, and what it represents. Expanding markets for organic, local, and non-genetically modified (GMO) foods mirror this interest, as do policy debates nationwide on food labeling and agriculture. In many ways, however, the issues that dominate the public discourse around food are not the issues that matter the most to Americans.

According to a new survey by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, although Americans do find GMOs, antibiotics, sustainability, and transparency important, they are most concerned with affordability, nutrition, and food safety. A majority of Americans name affordability and nutrition as very important issues concerning the food they buy, followed by a third of Americans who say buying non-GMO and antibiotic-free food is very important to them.

Americans want food producers to prioritize food safety most of all, followed by nutrition and affordability. When asked which issues Americans believe food producers prioritize and what issues they believe those producers should prioritize, perceptions fall short of expectations by more than 50 percentage points on food safety and nutrition.

Americans trust health professionals, friends and family, farmers, scientists, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) most when it comes to information about their food. They trust documentaries to a lesser degree and the food industry (grocery stores, food companies, food packaging) and media (both social and traditional) least of all.

Read the full report on the latest Science and Food Survey by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. 


The Chicago Council on Global Affairs highlights critical shifts in American public thinking on US foreign policy through public opinion surveys and research conducted under the Lester Crown Center on US Foreign Policy. 

The annual Chicago Council Survey, first conducted in 1974, is a valuable resource for policymakers, academics, media, and the general public. The Council also surveys American leaders in government, business, academia, think tanks, and religious organizations biennially to compare trends in their thinking with overall trends. And collaborating with partner organizations, the survey team periodically conducts parallel surveys of public opinion in other regions of the world to compare with US public opinion. 

The Running Numbers blog features regular commentary and analysis from the Council’s public opinion and US foreign policy research team, including a series of flash polls of a select group of foreign policy experts to assess their opinions on critical foreign policy topics driving the news.


| By Jack Benjamin

6 Ways in Which Liberal and Moderate Democrats Diverge on Key Issues

Democratic primary season is well under way, highlighted by recent debates and battleground fundraising by the large field of presidential hopefuls. As candidates deliver their pitch to voters, party supporters are not in lockstep on every issue.

| By Ruby Scanlon

The Generational Divide Over Climate Change

America’s young and old are split on what to do about climate change, presenting a major hurdle for the country’s youth to attain serious and immediate action.

| By Bettina Hammer

Americans Aren't Fans of Arms Sales

The United States has long been the tops arms supplier in the world. Yet public opinion data shows that Americans aren’t fans of U.S. arms sales.

| By Bettina Hammer

Little Admiration for the United States among MENA Publics

Most Americans believe that respect and admiration for the United States are instrumental in achieving US foreign policy goals. But a new poll finds publics in the Middle East and North Africa continue to view the United States unfavorably. 

| By Bettina Hammer

Peace to Prosperity Misses the Mark with Palestinians

At the June 25-26 Bahrain Peace to Prosperity Workshop, Jared Kushner presented the first component of a U.S. peace plan for the Middle East. But how does this plan sit with the Palestinian public?

| By Dina Smeltz, Brendan Helm

Scholars vs the Public: Collapse of the INF Treaty

In early February 2019, the United States withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty following President Trump’s October 2018 (and the Obama administration’s July 2014) accusations that Russia was failing to comply with the treaty. Russia withdrew from the treaty the next day.

Findings from a February 2019 Chicago Council on Global Affairs general public survey and a December 2018 Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) survey of International Relations (IR) scholars around the world illustrate how these different populations perceive the collapse of the INF Treaty.