Americans skeptical of “greenwashing,” including organic – Poll

 Resize text         Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

Americans are growing increasingly skeptical of corporate “greenwashing.” A March 2013 Harris Poll of 2,276 adults found almost 60 percent of respondents believe that labeling food or other products as organic is just an excuse to charge more.

"What surprised us most was that while Americans are showing more concern for the environment, they aren't necessarily willing to pay more to do anything about it," said Mike de Vere, President of the Harris Poll. "While Americans feel better about the economy, many are wary of the 'greenwashing' concept that gives companies a chance to cash in on consumers who want to help the planet but are confused by all the eco-friendly jargon."

According to the Harris Poll, eight in 10 Americans (80 percent) say they will seek out green products, but only three in 10 (30 percent) are willing to pay extra for them. Sixty percent of respondents say they prefer to use environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies because of the chemicals contained in traditional cleaning products.

Americans’ preference for environmentally-friendly products is often distorted by incorrect perceptions, and those misperceptions are often evident in food products. For instance, recent research shows that organic produce and meat typically aren’t any better for you than conventional varieties when it comes to vitamin and nutrient content, but more than half of Americans (51 percent) believe that organic foods are healthier than non-organic. Forty-one percent think organic food tastes better and /or fresher than non-organic.

The greatest skepticism about organics came from men, with 63 percent saying that the labeling of food or other products as organic is an excuse to charge more, compared to 54 percent of women.

Regarding overall concern for the environment, 38 percent of respondents said, “I personally care a great deal about the current state, and future, of the environment.” That’s up from last year’s total of 31 percent, according to Harris.

Overall, Harris found that efforts to be green seem to have leveled off, with nearly two-thirds (63 percent) making the same amount of effort to be environmentally conscious as a year ago, up considerably from 2009 (5 percent).

Comments (5) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

April, 18, 2013 at 01:26 PM

Its sort of like the stories coming from ag stating we r in a drought to raise hay prcies to for e horse pwople to sell for slaughter. I sold 123,000 bales from family farm at 2 bucks a bale this year, just to prove we r not in a drought, oh a dont forget we had record grain yeild for our farms ib three states with drought. Dont forget silage story for dairy

canada  |  April, 22, 2013 at 07:14 PM

I admire your ethics...but here the fertilizer cost per bale of hay is 2 cents a pound. I hope your bales are very small.

NJ/PA  |  April, 19, 2013 at 10:22 AM

This is my first time on this site. I was drawn here due to the piece on "Organics". What I read was of not much surprise although I would say that your pollster used flawed data. Perhaps in the organic cattle market it holds up but a quick look at major grocery stores shows a lot of interest in organics in the NorthEast at least. Large chains do not devote large sections to items that are non sellers. I have many friends and associates who are "hard-core" organic types. Personally, I am ambivalent as to organics except in the area of milk (due to taste) and ... for whatever reason ... I do find that "organic" fruits & vegetables seem to have a longer shelf life but are extremely seasonal. I prefer to purchase beef, pork and chicken through the Quaker & Mennonite Farm Markets in PA to avoid the quality and health problems associated with the "Industrialized" meat packing industry. I would note that the quality overall is superior to that found in grocery stores by almost any measure. I believe (but have done no "tests") that meat purchased through the stores has been weighted using water injection. Whether talking about roasts, steaks or ground meat, the meats commercially available are "wetter". Further, I notice that in ground meat although it claims to be 85% or 93% lean there is an awful lot of "juice" left in the pan and the resulting item seems to weigh no more than cheap ground.

Siquijor  |  April, 20, 2013 at 10:06 PM

Here in Asia in this area we have no grocery stores on this island. So according to you we are eating better quality foods. Really? no refrigeration no preservatives, got to get in home and into the refrigerator before it starts to smell.

SD  |  April, 22, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Kelly, don't know where you live, but in western SD we definitely are and have been for some time into a severe drought. A few weeks of snow does not 'cure' that problem. Subsoils are very dry, topsoils were parched to the point a foot of snow left very little run-off, and hopfully the several inches we are getting today will do better at filling our stock dams. We got virtually NO hay, after a bumper crop in 2011, so only had to buy a little. Re. Organics, that is really a matter of choice for those who can afford it. No verifiable health benefit to it. Of course 'home grown' food tastes better, especially when it is produced close to home so no travel involved. Polls are variable, but ag producers demand as much accuracy as possible from our media and this writer is one of the best for searching that out, IMO. Re. water in meats: absolutely the only additive allowed in beef commercially processed is marinades which are disclosed on the label. By law! Poultry may be another story, as at least in the recent past, it was allowed to soak up water while chilling.


JUMPSTART can be mixed with water and fed in the farrowing barn to supplement young pigs or can be fed ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Generate Leads