February 18/Chicago/PRWEB -- The labeling of genetically modified (GMO) foods is at the center of debate across the country, but the decision to buy or not buy non-GMO foods often is based on price, according to The NPD Group. A recent NPD food market research study on GMO awareness and concern among consumers finds that 67% of all primary grocery shoppers are not willing to pay a higher price for non-GMO foods.

Over half of U.S. consumers express some level of concern about genetically modified organisms, but when asked to describe GMOs, many primary grocery shoppers are unclear, which may be a factor in their unwillingness to pay a higher price for non-GMO foods, finds the NPD study entitled "Gauging GMO Awareness and Impact." Also unclear to consumers is the prevalence of GMO versus non-GMO items at the grocers. Four out of 10 primary grocery shoppers either feel that they buy non-GMOs mostly while the same ratio of consumers say they are not sure.

What many grocery shoppers appear to be certain of is that they do not want to pay more for non-GMO foods and beverages, reports NPD. There is, however, a subset of grocery shoppers who are aware and concerned about GMOs who are willing to pay more, which amounts to about 11% of all primary shoppers. Additionally, half of people who primarily shop specialty stores are willing to pay more for non-GMO products, according to the NPD food and beverage market research.

“Since more consumers over the last few years have been expressing concerns about GMOs, it’s time to have a dialog with shoppers about what they are and what roles they play in the food chain,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “Manufacturers and retailers can take an active role in this conversation by helping to educate consumers about GMOs, and learning which food and beverage categories face scrutiny among consumers when they are trying to determine if the product contains GMOs. Marketers who wish to get messages out about their products as they relate to GMOs should engage both traditional and social media for effective communication avenues.”