Urban diners are willing to pay more for sustainably raised food, especially in the Northwest. According to San Francisco Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer, a recent Zagat survey showed the following percentages of respondents would "open their wallet[s] to support a principle":
- 80% in Portland
- 74% in San Francisco
- 72% in Seattle
- 63% in Los Angeles
- 58% in New York
- 55% in St. Louis
Of course, Bauer notes, "this survey was conducted on diners who fill out forms for Zagat, so they are arguably more sophisticated and affluent than the rest of the population.... [but] trends that begin in fine dining establishments eventually infiltrate to the mass market."
"Eventually" seems conservative when you consider how enthusiastically Wal-Mart has hopped on the organic bandwagon, but the company isn’t counting on buyers to pony up, pledging to shrink the price premium on its organic products. What do you think--should organic always cost more?