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How would Swiss consumers decide if they had freedom of choice? Evidence from a field study with organic, conventional and GM corn bread

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  • Aerni, Philipp
  • Scholderer, Joachim
  • Ermen, David
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    Abstract

    In 2005, the Swiss expressed their negative attitude towards genetic engineering in agriculture by voting in favor of a ban to use genetically modified (GM) crops in domestic agriculture. At the same time, certain GM food products remain approved but are not on offer since retailers assume that consumers would shun labeled GM food. In our study we tested this claim by conducting a large-scale field study with Swiss consumers. In our experimental design, three clearly labeled types of corn bread were offered at five different market stands across the French and German-speaking part of Switzerland: one made with organic, one made with conventional, and one made with genetically modified (GM) corn. In addition, we tested the consistency between purchasing decision at the market stand and the previous voting decision on GMOs in 2005 by means of an ex-post questionnaire. The results of our discrete choice analysis show that Swiss consumers treat GM foods just like any other type of novel food. We conclude from our findings that consumers tend to appreciate transparency and freedom of choice even if one of the offered product types is labeled as containing a genetically modified ingredient. Retailers should allow consumers to make their own choice and accept the fact that not all people appear to be afraid of GM food.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Food Policy.

    Volume (Year): 36 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 6 ()
    Pages: 830-838

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:36:y:2011:i:6:p:830-838

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/foodpol

    Related research

    Keywords: Revealed consumer behavior; Freedom of choice; Discrete choice; GM food; Attitude–behavior consistency; Field study;

    References

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    1. Aerni, Philipp & Bernauer, Thomas, 2006. "Stakeholder attitudes toward GMOs in the Philippines, Mexico, and South Africa: The issue of public trust," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 557-575, March.
    2. Belk, Russell W & Wallendorf, Melanie & Sherry, John F, Jr, 1989. " The Sacred and the Profane in Consumer Behavior: Theodicy on the Odyssey," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-38, June.
    3. Charles Noussair & StÈphane Robin & Bernard Ruffieux, 2004. "Do Consumers Really Refuse To Buy Genetically Modified Food?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(492), pages 102-120, 01.
    4. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:3:y:2005:i:32:p:1-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Brunso, Karen & Scholderer, Joachim & Grunert, Klaus G., 2004. "Closing the gap between values and behavior--a means-end theory of lifestyle," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 57(6), pages 665-670, June.
    6. Kirchhoff, Stefanie & Zago, Angelo M., 2001. "A Simple Model Of Voluntary Vs Mandatory Labelling Of Gmos," 2001 Annual meeting, August 5-8, Chicago, IL 20540, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    7. Klaus G. Grunert & Tino Bech-Larsen & Liisa Lähteenmäki & Øydis Ueland & Annika Åström, 2004. "Attitudes towards the use of GMOs in food production and their impact on buying intention: The role of positive sensory experience," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(1), pages 95-107.
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    Cited by:
    1. Zilberman, David & Kaplan, Scott & Kim, Eunice & Waterfield, Gina, 2013. "Lessons from the California GM Labeling Proposition on the State of Crop Biotechnology," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 149851, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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