A survey of 7,500 adults across six markets conducted by Edelman Data and Intelligence at the behest of the Organic Trade Association found that while many consumers’ top food and beverage concerns closely align with the core values addressed by the National Organic Program and many hold “strong positive impressions both around organic products and practices,” ​those impressions “didn’t necessarily translate to their purchasing behavior,”​ Darci Vetter, senior advisor with Edelman Global Advisory, told attendees this week at the Organic Trade Association’s annual policy and legislative conference in Washington, DC.

She explained that the research found 79% of Americans were somewhat or very concerned about the use of chemicals in farming practices, 71% were somewhat or very concerned about the treatment of farm workers and those who work in food processing facilities, 76% worried about the environmental impact of the food industry, 75% were concerned about the treatment of animals by the meat and dairy industry and 72% worried about the use of genetically modified organisms in farming.

Likewise, many Americans also understood that these values are represented by organic certification, but at slightly lower levels.

For example, 68% of Americans believe organic products do not contain pesticide residues, 65% perceive organic to be healthier than conventional and 64% know that organic products do not contain GMOs, according to the research.

Similarly, the research found that most – but still fewer – Americans believe organic is better for farmers and livestock with 63% reporting that buying organic supports small farms, 60% believing organic is better for animal welfare and 60% saying organic farming is “more ethical” than conventional farm, Vetter reported.