USDA releases ‘Product of USA’ labeling survey data

USDA releases ‘Product of USA’ labeling survey data

By Chris Moore on 5/23/2023

The USDA released survey results on consumer understanding of the "Product of USA" labeling claim.

Proposed rules would allow the claims on single-ingredient products derived from animals born, raised, slaughtered, and processed in the United States. Multi-ingredient products could also use the claims if all components are of US origin, while other US-origin claims would require additional information. The changes aim to provide accurate information and prevent misleading labeling, with an estimated industry cost of $3 million.

The survey assessed consumer recognition and comprehension of the "Product of USA" claim. Respondents viewed mock meat products with different claim formats. Findings showed that a claim with a US flag icon had the highest recall rate (1 in 3), while plain-text claims had the lowest (1 in 10). For cued recognition, saliency did not significantly vary, with 70-80% of consumers recognizing the claim across formats.

Regarding comprehension, only 16% understood the "Product of USA" claim correctly, while 63% provided incorrect responses, believing all production steps must occur in the U.S. Consumers showed better understanding of USDA Choice (68% correctly identified it as quality indicator) and the USDA mark of inspection (83% correctly associated it with federal inspection).

The survey also found that consumers are willing to pay more for products with the "Product of USA" claim and for products with more production steps in the U.S.

The results highlight the need for improved consumer understanding of the "Product of USA" claim and related USDA labeling to ensure informed purchasing decisions.