NEBRASKA CITY – Lisa Lunz of Common Ground Nebraska told Rotarians Wednesday that consumers need not be confused by labeling strategies at modern grocery stores when farmers have a voice in the conversation.
She said some labels that tout products as cage free, no GMOs or organically grown can appeal to impulse buying without providing useful information for food choices.
Lunz: “Because today the consumer goes to the grocery store and sees all these labels, because the marketing world has decided that if you label something in one way it will sell better than if you label another way. The consumer, when you have not been around food and understand how food is raised, sometimes those labels can be very confusing.”
Common Ground Nebraska, which is funded by corn and soybean checkoff programs, is made up of farmers who see the value of sitting at tables during community events, making presentations and offering consumers opportunities to reconnect with food producers.
Lunz: “One of the things we like to do is talk about how food is raised. All food is safe. It’s great to have food choices in the grocery store and we want to have choices, but we don’t want to demonize one choice over another. We want to let consumers know that any choice they make is safe and good for them.”
She said food production remains important as the world population is expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050. She advises consumers to pay attention to ingredients and nutritional value of foods, rather than growing methods.
Lunz: “Something grown organic is grown differently but has the same nutrition value as the product next to it.”
She said genetic advancements in soybeans are creating healthier cooking oils and apples that keep their appeal.
Arctic apples are expected to hit the market soon that have genetic breeding so that they do not brown as quickly when cut. Lunz said people make choices on how food looks, so it may prevent food waste.