New Polls Reveal Americans Aren’t Happy With Food System


Is Michael Pollan’s message sinking in? Are Americans finally tired of wolfing down government-subsidized Doritos (R.I.P. Arch West) and Big Macs? According to a new poll, the answer is an encouraging, although by no means overwhelming, yes. Recently, Mark Bittman pointed to two new polls that show that most of the country thinks that the current farm system is deeply flawed. The biggest complaint? Healthy food should be made cheaper.

The Environmental Working Group (EWP) has more details. The first poll, commissioned by the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, showed that

  • 78 percent said making nutritious and healthy foods more affordable and more accessible should be a top priority in the next farm bill.
  • 52 percent said subsidies for crops such as corn and soybeans should top the list of programs to be cut, and 49 percent named crop insurance as the next target. Only 31 percent ranked conservation programs as top targets for cuts and just 23 percent wanted to chop food aid for low income Americans.

Take that, corn! Yes, people might be so poor that they are resorting to pig-stealing, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to eat healthy food. Another poll by the Ketchum Global Research Network revealed that

73 percent of consumers were satisfied with the availability of healthy foods and 66 percent are satisfied with food safety standards, but, 42 percent said the U.S. is “off on the wrong track in the way we produce food,” as against 39 percent who said it’s “heading in the right direction.”

OK, so it’s not like there are foodies with pitchforks collecting around Washington, but it’s a start. At least we know the Michael Pollans and Mark Bittmans of the world are slowly but surely making a difference.