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12/08/2019

Study: Most consumers don't trust technology when it comes to their food

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Minneapolis-based Cargill published results from a consumer survey studying U.S., Korean and French consumer perceptions around technology and agriculture, and while the consensus is technology can improve farming and make it more sustainable, most respondents don’t really trust technology when it comes to their food.

Cargill, a producer of private label products, surveyed 3,000 participants and found that 85% believe technology is a necessity in farming. However, half want food to come from technologically advanced farms versus a traditional farm.

“We know that new technologies are allowing farmers to make better, faster, more informed decisions to feed a hungry world while protecting the planet, said Sri Raj Kantamneni, managing director of Cargill’s digital business. “We also know that agriculture is still the least digitalized industry sector in the world.”

Cargill’s “Feed5Thought” survey is quarterly and found South Korean consumers were the most pro-tech farms, with 70% in favor of having food come from a high-tech farm. French consumers were the most apprehensive, with only 37% wanting food from a tech-heavy farm.

As for American consumers, they say that technology should be used to “increase food safety.”

The survey mentioned some types of technology being used such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), which can provide farmers with more insights on how to maximize animal comfort and health, and facial recognition technology to track a cow’s appearance and make sure its healthy and productive.

Consumers seemed cagey about the types of technology Cargill asked them about, perhaps needing more education, as only 35% seemed OK with AI being used, and less than a third liked the idea of devices being placed on animals to track behavior, such as one considered a “Fitbit for cows.”