ANN ARBOR, Mich. and WASHINGTON — When given a choice, American consumers prefer to purchase organic foods, according to the Thomson Reuters-NPR Health Poll. The survey found that 58% of Americans say they choose organic over conventionally produced foods when they have the opportunity, a number that spikes higher among both young and highly educated respondents. Sixty-three percent of respondents under the age of 35 prefer organic foods, as do 64% of those with a bachelor's degree or more.
Among those who prefer organic foods, 36% said they do so to support local farmer's markets and 34% said they wanted to avoid exposure to toxins in non-organic 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," said Scott Hensley, NPR health correspondent and blogger. "We find it especially intriguing that a very small percentage of respondents are choosing organic foods based on taste. This makes organic vs. conventional a really unique case where food decisions are being made consciously by consumers."