Source: Pew Research Center
Food has become a flashpoint in American culture and politics. In the past generation, Americans have witnessed the introduction of genetically modified crops, the rise of the organic food industry, increasing concerns about obesity, growing awareness to food allergies and other health concerns linked with what people eat, an expanding volume of best-selling books and publications about food and the proliferation of premier chefs as superstars in popular culture.
There has been a pronounced shift in Americans’ eating habits over the past 20 years with far-reaching implications for how food is created, prepared and consumed. Moreover, the way Americans eat has become a source of potential social, economic and political friction as people follow personal preferences reflecting their beliefs about how foods connect with their health and ailments, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center.
In a way, these choices reflect personalized “ideologies” that shape how people think about and consume food. They are not all-encompassing world views, but they inform key behaviors and attitudes around life’s staples.
The new food divides are encapsulated by how people assess the health effects of two kinds of food: organic and genetically modified (GM) foods.