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Local Foods Making the List, Too; Cost Is No. 1 Barrier, Survey Shows

Sept. 27, 2007 -- Organic foods and local foods are becoming grocery list staples for some Americans, a new poll shows.

In the GfK Roper Consulting poll, about 1,000 U.S. adults answered questions about how often (if ever) they buy local or organic foods. They also dished on their diets and cooking habits.

The poll report plays up the word "locavore," which is a term that refers to people who seek out foods that are grown or produced in their region.

Poll participants weren't expected to know that buzzword. But 20% indicated that more than half of their food purchases are locally grown or locally produced.

Keep in mind that the telephone poll was conducted in early September -- prime time for summer fruits and vegetables. The results might be different in the winter, GfK Roper Consulting suggests.

Organic Food

Most participants -- all but 36% -- said they had bought organic foods or beverages at some point in their lives.

A total of 23% said they buy organic items at least weekly, 22% said they buy organic items about once or twice a month, 18% said they buy organic items a few times a year.

Those figures are pretty similar to the same poll questions in 2006. But the new poll show that people who said they buy organic foods and beverages are increasingly positive about the nutritional, safety, and environmental benefits of organic foods and beverages.

Cost is No. 1 reason why people didn't buy organic foods or drinks. People who bought organic foods tended to have bigger paychecks than those who skip organics, the poll also shows.

Who's Dieting

Slightly more than a third of participants -- 34% -- said they or someone they live with is dieting to lose weight.

Dieting or not, half of the participants said they check the fat content on food labels before buying foods. Almost as many -- 45% -- check the sugar content on food labels.

Across the board, women pay more attention to food labels than men do, according to the poll.

Most participants -- about 80% -- reported that they and their families eat healthfully and that they are "very" or "somewhat" knowledgeable about nutrition. But only 13% said they're tracking their daily calorie intake.

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