MSU Food Literacy and Engagement Poll: Wave I

The first wave of Michigan State University's Food Literacy and Engagement Poll centers on food access.

Numbers listed in tables are percentages. 

If you needed to, how often could you access fresh fruit and vegetables where you live?

Every day 78 
At least once a week 14
At least once a month  4
Rarely 1
Never 1
I'm not sure 2

Using a 1 to 5 scale, where 1 is not at all influential and 5 is very influential, how influential are food labels in your food buying decisions?

Influential (4-5) 66 
Not influential (1-2)  10

How often do you think you consume genetically modified organisms, often called GMOs?

Every day 19
At least once a week 25
At least once a month  10 
Rarely 14
Never 6
I'm not sure 26


Using a 1 to 5 scale, where 1 is much lower than an average person and 5 is much higher than an average person, how would you rank your understanding of the global food system?

Higher than average (4-5)  38 
Lower than average (1-2) 14

How often do you seek information about where your food was grown and how it was produced?

Every day 12
At least once a week 21
At least once a month  19 
Rarely 35
Never 13

Using a 1 to 5 scale, where 1 is not at all willing and 5 is very willing, how willing would you be to pay more for food items if their production had a less damaging impact on the environment?

Willing (4-5) 51
Not willing (1-2)  20 

Using a 1 to 5 scale, where 1 is not at all concerned and 5 is very concerned, how concerned are you about the safety of the food available for purchase in your community compared to other communities?

Concerned (4-5) 50
Not concerned (1-2)  22 

How often do you choose organic foods over non-organic foods?

Whenever they are available 17 
Always, but only for certain items  15
Sometimes 33
Rarely or never 31
Not sure 4

Using a 1 to 5 scale, where 1 is do not trust at all and 5 is completely trust, how much do you trust the following individuals or groups when it comes to the health and safety of food?

  • Academic scientists
    Trust (4-5) 59 
    Do not trust (1-2)  13

  • Government scientists
    Trust (4-5) 49 
    Do not trust (1-2)  18

  • Industry scientists
    Trust (4-5) 33 
    Do not trust (1-2)  30

Please tell me whether you think the following statement is true or false: Genetically modified foods have genes and non-genetically modified foods do not.

True 37 
False  63



Michigan State University's Food Literacy and Engagement Poll reports on consumer knowledge and opinions on food-related issues. Results provide an impartial and authoritative source of public perspectives on food to inform and guide discussion at Our Table and Food@MSU.


The Michigan State University Food Literacy and Engagement Poll was conducted online between July 6 and 8, 2017, among 1,059 U.S. residents aged 18 and over. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. The poll is administered by Toluna, NA, a leader in online research that manages one of the world’s largest internet-based research panels with more than 4.5 million registered and active users.

All surveys are subject to multiple sources of error. Most of these errors are often impossible to quantify. In addition to sampling error, these errors include coverage error, non-response error, interviewer bias when appropriate, and the error associated with how a question is asked or the response options given. The overall margin of error would be 3 percentage points at the widest intervall.

© 2017 Michigan State University


For more on the Michigan State University Food Literacy and Engagement Poll, click here.

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