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    United Fresh Releases First Annual 'Issues Scan' Report

    A landmark research report from the produce trade group takes a closer look at how political, social, and environmental issues impact consumer produce purchases

    United Fresh Produce Association, through its Research & Education Foundation, has unveiled new research that measures how political, social, and environmental issues are affecting produce shoppers' opinions and purchasing behavior.

    As the first research report in what will be an annual series, United Fresh Issues Scan 2008 creates a baseline understanding of issues related to food safety, sustainability, product origin and more, the trade group said.

    Sponsored by 3M Microbiology and BASF, Issues Scan 2008 looks at U.S. consumer attitudes and behaviors in five major areas that have garnered significant media coverage in recent years:
    Food safety
    Environmental and social issues
    Product origin
    Comparison of different forms of fruits and vegetables
    Impact of issues on purchase intent/desire for information

    Subsequent research will provide annual trend tracking data on these core issues and show how changing consumer attitudes are likely to affect future purchasing behavior.

    "With so much public focus on food safety, environmental issues and sustainability, our members have asked us how these issues are likely to affect the marketplace for fresh produce," said United Fresh chairman Tom Lovelace, of McEntire Produce. "Today's buying decisions are increasingly influenced by a multitude of factors that this research will track to help companies understand how the issues are driving purchasing habits."

    Research for Issues Scan 2008 was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of United Fresh. The initial research was conducted in March 2008; however, due to the significant publicity surrounding the Salmonella St. Paul outbreak earlier this year, the publication was put on hold until follow-up research could be done. Following the outbreak, ten food safety related questions from the initial research were used in a survey conducted in late August, 2008. Comparisons of the data from March to August are included in the addendum of the report.

    Issues Scan 2008 can be purchased at $125 for members, and $195 for non-members by visiting unitedfresh.org or by calling Victoria Backer at 202-303-3408, or [email protected].

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