Strawberry Customers Surveyed
Farm stand buyers care about pesticides, IPM
Professor Dan McDonald, Cornell Department of Communication, shared some fascinating facts about consumer attitudes when he spoke at the NYS Berry Growers Association meeting in February 1998. McDonald reported on data that he and his department chair Carroll Glynn gathered and analyzed. The data came from two 1997 surveys, a statewide, random sampling of the general public and a sampling of customers at berry stands around the state.
Survey subjects were asked questions about pesticides, the environment, and IPM. When berry stand customers were asked why they choose particular farm stands, traditional reasons like taste were dominant, but environmental concerns were also influential. Here are some of the attitudes gleaned from the surveys:
- About 75 percent of consumers are concerned about the health and environmental impacts of pesticides.
- 61 percent of those surveyed disagree with a statement ranking the appearance of berries above the way they are grown. Only 19 percent agree that aesthetics are more important.
- Consumers respond favorably to the idea of IPM, whether they understand it or not. Nearly all would choose IPM-grown berries over conventionally grown berries if both were available for the same price.
- 61 percent are willing to pay more for "berries grown in ways that minimize pesticide use."
- A majority of those surveyed about priorities for pesticide research ranked "effects on groundwater" number one.