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Was Ted Cruz Right? Are People with Gluten-Sensitivity Liberals? OSU's FooD Surveyors Investigate

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 16:07:55 CDT

Was Ted Cruz Right? Are People with Gluten-Sensitivity Liberals? OSU's FooD Surveyors Investigate Oklahoma State University’s Agricultural Economics Department released the summary report of the September 2017 edition of the Food Demand Survey (FooDS) this week. According to it, willingness-to-pay (WTP) increased for steak, chicken breast, hamburger, and deli ham. WTP decreased for pork chops and chicken wings. WTP for deli ham experienced the largest percent increase compared to one month ago. WTP for all products is lower than one year ago.

Expenditures on food eaten at home decreased 1.85% over the last month while expenditures on food purchased away from home decreased 0.42%. Based on the report, consumers say they expect prices for all meat products to increase compared to August. Consumers say they plan to buy more beef, chicken and pork compared to last month. Respondents’ plans to eat out decreased slightly compared to last month.

Taste, safety, and price remained consumers’ most important values when purchasing food this month. These values are comparable to the top values held by consumers over the last several months.

Several new ad hoc questions were added to this month’s survey relating to Celiac disease, individual’s sensitivity towards gluten, and their political affiliations - in an effort to assess the correlation, if any, between gluten-sensitivity and political affiliation, a relationship which has been suggested by some observers.

Only participants in the pool of responders that have not been diagnosed with Celiac disease were asked four questions regarding gluten sensitivity. Across all questions, around 10% - 20% of individuals report some form of gluten sensitivity.

Based on the first question, asking how becoming gluten-sensitive has changed one’s political affiliation, it is safe to say that there is little evidence to suggest that becoming gluten-sensitive makes one lean to the political-left.

Building from the theory that parents pass down their political beliefs to their children, participants were then asked how they identified their parents’ political views, as either liberal or conservative.
Interestingly, more respondents had liberal parents than conservative parents, suggesting that children of liberal parents are more likely to report a gluten-sensitivity than children of conservative parents.

Based on their own political beliefs, though, the results show that those associating gluten with poor health are much more likely to be liberal. However, one-third of the conservative identifying responders reported a gluten-sensitivity, meaning that the notion is about more than just politics. The survey this month, measured this hypothesis in a different way, also. Essentially asking participants who they voted for in the 2016 presidential election, and whether or not they had a gluten-sensitivity.

Among those who voted, there are little differences in responses to the statement ‘I believe I am sensitive to gluten in foods’ among Clinton and Trump supporters. A total of 12.5% of Clinton supporters agreed, compared to Trump’s 13.20%. The difference was more pronounced among those who did not vote. Non-voters who said they would have supported Trump over Clinton were more likely to report a gluten-sensitivity. Non-voting Clinton supporters agreed with the statement 15.21% of the time, compared to Trump’s 24.72%. This demonstrates that associating an aversion to gluten as being a ‘liberal cause’ is not entirely accurate.

To take a look at the complete summary report of this edition of the FooDS Survey, click or tap here.

Source - Oklahoma State University



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