Neal Carter: Perception of biotech foods boosted by consumer benefits

There’s no question that farmers are well aware of the benefits biotech crops can offer, as ag-biotech is the fastest adopted crop technology in history with 18 million farmers currently growing biotech crops worldwide. Consumers, on the other hand, have not yet seen many direct benefits for themselves, nor have they been the focus of educational efforts until recently. OSF president Neal Carter explains, in an opinion piece published by Fresh Fruit Portal, that the rise of educational efforts, and the “next wave” of biotech crops with direct benefits for consumers will help foster a positive shift in consumer perceptions
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Consumers choose GE corn over conventional

David Walton, whose family has been farming in Iowa since 1836, has a philosophy that “each generation MUST leave the soil in better condition than we found it”. To this end, he employs a variety of crop production methods, including both GE and conventional seed, to produce high-quality food. Despite seeing the value biotechnology can often offer to farmers like himself, he’s often wondered if the public would embrace biotech crops more readily if these foods offered direct consumer benefits. David recently put that speculation to the test by selling both GE and conventional sweet corn at his roadside stand.
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The best of both worlds: biotech’s health & sensory benefits

Consumers try to eat healthy, they really do! It’s too bad our silly little brains are programmed to often value instant gratification over long-term benefits, or else we’d all be super-fit gym nuts with 90-year life expectancies. Anyone who’s ever made (and then broken) New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier knows what we’re talking about. Plenty of research demonstrates that even though most consumers say they’re interested in eating healthier, their resolve slips when they’re actually shopping and eating, as they’re swayed by the convenience and taste of less nutritious alternatives. Yet, rather than change human nature itself, why not
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Why start with nonbrowning apples?

At Okanagan Specialty Fruits, one of the most common questions we get is, “What made you choose nonbrowning apples as your first product?” As with most crops, there are plenty of pests that can make life very difficult for apple growers, such as fire blight and apple scab, and the majority of biotech crops to date have focused on what we call input or agronomic traits, which assist in the production of the crop. While we’re also working on solutions to some of the challenges faced by our fellow orchardists, we believe the potential impact of Arctic® apples is just
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The importance of a “fresh” approach

When consumers are asked what’s most important to them when shopping for produce, one of the most frequent responses you’ll hear is freshness. Our own consumer research showed this, as we asked 1,000 self-identified apple eaters for the most important traits they look for when shopping for apples. Neck-and-neck for the lead was freshness and overall look (which is also a sign of freshness). Not only is freshness quite possibly the most important motivator for consumers when it comes to selecting produce, but the demand for fresher fruits and veggies continues to climb even higher. A great example of retailers
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Blogger Betsie Estes: OSF offers transparency, consumer benefits

Betsie Estes, in her own words, is a “Mom, wife, 9-5’er, blogger, Field Mom (@FieldMomBetsie), maid, chef and chauffer.” Over at her blog, Super Suburbs, she shares her thoughts on anything and everything – including agriculture and biotech foods. Last month, she got the chance to see a presentation from OSF president Neal Carter at BIO 2013, and today she shares her thoughts on our company and nonbrowning Arctic® apples: I have been fortunate enough to have some very enlightening experiences over the past few years, from touring farms to talking to scientists, and along the way I am learning
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Taking the “Yuck” Factor Out of Brown Apples

Best Food Facts, an educational website that connects consumers with food system expert, recently reached out to Dr. Herb Aldwinckle for his opinion on Arctic apples. Dr. Aldwinckle, professor emeritus at Cornell University’s Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, has studied apples for four decades and explains that nonbrowning apples are completely safe and will provide a significant consumption trigger. Our president Neal Carter was also interviewed about the history, benefits and deregulation progress of Arctic apples. We encourage you to view the full article, including video and audio components, on Best Food Facts’ website here.
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Watch: Arctic® apple stays white!

With Arctic® apples still undergoing deregulation, it can sometimes be a challenge to demonstrate the impact of the nonbrowning trait. But seeing is believing, so take a look at our 24-hour time-lapsed video comparing a sliced Arctic® Golden to a conventional Golden Delicious. We think you’ll agree that the difference is clear! Even after just a short amount of time, the conventional fruit’s flesh becomes brown and unappealing. It’s probably not an apple that you, or your picky kids, would consider eating. The Arctic® Golden, on the other hand, maintains its original color throughout the entire 24 hours without the
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Mandatory labeling is misleading

Even with California’s Proposition 37 failing last November (for good reason), mandatory labeling of biotech foods remains a hot topic. New labeling initiatives are underway in Washington, Oregon, New Mexico and several other states. While some of the language in these initiatives differs from that of Prop-37, the true motivation behind them is the same: unnecessarily scaring consumers away from biotech foods. While we support transparency with consumers, which is what the “Right to Know” camp boasts is their noble purpose, simply slapping a “GMO” label onto food does not provide any meaningful information. What’s even worse, for a campaign centered on the idea of public education, they
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Shopping for apples? What makes you decide?

Recently, we discussed which apple attributes consumers told us were most important to them. We weren’t surprised to find things like flavor and nutrition among the top choices, but how can shoppers identify these attributes while in the grocery store? The truth is they can’t! So, we asked 1,000 self-identified apple consumers how they choose one apple over another. What did we learn? Arctic® apples enhance the traits most important to shoppers! It’s been well known for a long time that consumers “buy” first with their eyes, and not surprisingly they rated the most eye-catching attribute as most important –
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