A grocery bag full of food spills out onto a table

A recent survey shows grocery shoppers adapt to COVID-19, remain trusting in agriculture.

Inside the minds of Iowa grocery shoppers

March 15, 2021

A survey of 350 soybean farmers earlier this winter found that “improving consumer trust in modern agriculture” ranks highly among the issues impacting farm profitability. 

Perhaps that is because just 4% of Iowans are directly involved in farming. Thus, very few have a firsthand understanding of how today’s food system operates with their best interest in mind.

For Randy Miller, Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) Secretary and District 8 Director from Lacona, building agricultural awareness among Iowa consumers is a priority. He believes success starts with understanding what is on the minds of the 96% of Iowans who do not farm. 

“Most of the time, we only hear from the loudest, most polarized few,” he shares. “But it’s just as important to be aware of the questions, concerns and trends that are on the minds of the more moderate majority.” 

To understand Iowa consumer perceptions across the farm-to-fork chain, the Iowa Food & Family Project (Iowa FFP) conducts an annual Consumer Pulse Survey.

Now in its ninth year, it gauges Iowans’ grocery shopping habits, food label influence and attitudes toward agriculture. Year-over-year findings provide a snapshot of consumer perceptions, and help shape ISA and Iowa FFP programming and content development. 

Conducted last fall, the survey of Iowa grocery shoppers had 1,539 responses. Among those were 1,103 engaged with the Iowa FFP as opt-in Fresh Pickings eNewsletter subscribers. Respondents’ age groups, income levels, education levels and geographic regions resembles the state’s population. Flynn Wright, an advertising agency in Des Moines, conducted the survey analysis from data collected.

Miller says this diverse cross section of respondents shows the broad appeal of Iowa FFP and its ability to impact Iowa consumers. 

A resource for Iowa consumers

Iowa FFP invites Iowans to explore how food is grown around the state and meet the farmers who make it happen; 24/7, 365 days a year. The initiative works with a collaborative network of more than 35 food, farming and healthy living organizations who are proud of Iowa’s homegrown foods and hometown values.

The agricultural awareness initiative reaches more than 135,000 followers each month through its Fresh Pickings magazine, eNewsletter, website and social media channels.

This story was originally published in the March 2021 issue of the Iowa Soybean Review.