Younger Europeans Are More Accepting of Genetically Modified Foods

The European Union upholds high quality standards for food and drinks, and requires thorough labelling for foods with GM and artificial ingredients. We were interested to know if Europeans think the food and drink regulations are satisfactory, or if the industry leaves something to be desired.

We asked respondents what they think about the industry and if they would support specific food policies. Our survey results showed that 31% of Europeans think the industry should be more regulated while 9% think it should be less regulated. Responses vary widely from country to country; 36% of Italians want more regulation, while just 20% of Poles want the same. While country differences are stark, differences like gender and age play a small role in these results.

17% of Europeans would support a tax on food and drinks with high sugar content, known as a “sugar tax”. Italians are least likely to support this policy at only 6%. In contrast, the British are the largest supporters at 29%. Again, gender and age had little effect on the results.

47% of Europeans overall would support a tax on genetically modified (GM) foods. Germans are most in favor of the policy at 58% and the British are least supportive at 37%. In contrast to regulation and sugar tax policies, support levels for a GM tax varied significantly by gender and age. Women support the GM food policy by 5 percentage points more than men (49% to 44%). Additionally, support for the tax was higher among older respondents; from 35% among Europeans in our youngest age bracket (14-20 years) to 52% among the oldest bracket (50-65 years). These age differences could suggest that the use of GM crops have become more normalized for younger generations. In Europe, Spain is currently the leading producer of GM foods (about 20% of maize is GM). For other countries like the U.S., more than 85% of certain crops are GM. .

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