Demographics of Household Attitudes towards Food Defense

Literature examining demographics of consumers most concerned about acts of agro terrorism or terrorism in general is limited due to inadequate data. A first effort to fill this information gap was made possible by a 2005 survey conducted by the University of Minnesota. The “National Survey of Attitudes of U.S. Residents about Terrorism.” surveyed 4,260 Americans. Results showed 31 percent of respondents were not confident their food supply was secure from acts of terrorism, while 77 percent felt an act of food terrorism would occur in their lifetime. This paper is divided into three sections of analysis. First, the demographics of surveyed respondents who believe an agro terrorist attack will occur within the next four years are reported. Second, the level of concern respondents have regarding how secure the food supply is from terrorist attacks is incorporated. Lastly, the impact additional information has on how respondents allocate money towards food defense is explored. Specifically, we investigate whether the size of respondent’s communities and their general attitude towards the safety of the food supply has any impact on their level of concern towards the security of their food supply. Other demographics analyzed include gender, education level, race and primary source of news information. Binary logistic models are used in all stages of analysis. Initial findings suggest demographics have little impact on who is most likely to believe an agro terrorist event will occur in the next four years, while regional market size, education, race and age were the demographics of those most concerned about acts of agro terrorism. The final stage of analysis reported females and well educated individuals were most likely to allocate more money towards protecting the food supply from acts of agro terrorism when additional information was provided.

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Proceedings of the 10th Joint Conference on Agriculture, Food, and the Environment, August 27-30, 2006, Duluth, Minnesota

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