Poll: Those most likely to eat organic are young, rich or liberal

August 18
DES PLAINES, IL - JULY 07: Organic signs hang in a organic food aisle of the Shop & Save Market grocery July 7, 2006 in Des Plaines, Illinois. With strong sales in organic foods, demand by producers and retailers is begining to outstrip supply of organically raised products. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
Organic signs hang in a organic food aisle of a Shop & Save Market grocery in 2006.(Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

You might be a jerk if you eat organic food, but you’re also probably living in a city or out West.

According to a Gallup poll, about half of all U.S. adults “actively” seek to add organic food to their diets, whereas 15 percent avoid it.

The July poll of about 1,000 adults across the country found that Americans most likely to eat organic are in the West, live in a city, are 18 to 29 years old, vote Democrat or have an annual household income greater than $75,000. Those most likely to avoid organic foods are basically the opposite: those who live in the East, live in more rural parts, are age 65 or older, vote Republican or have an annual household income less than $30,000.

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Here’s the Agriculture Department’s definition of organic food:

Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled ‘organic,’ a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.

The USDA also does not say whether such food is “safer or more nutritious than conventionally produced food.”

Organic food is more expensive than the conventional fare. Gallup  notes that “given that almost half of Americans actively try to include organic foods in their diets, they may view the benefits of organic foods as greater than their downsides, such as the higher cost or limited access.” But the cost is also probably what keeps U.S. adults with lower incomes from buying it.

Roughly 11 percent of upper-income Americans actively try to avoid including organic food in their diets, while 24 percent of lower-income adults do.

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