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Evaluating Consumer Response to GM Foods: Some Methodological Considerations

  • Marks, Leonie A.
  • Kalaitzandonakes, Nicholas G.
  • Vickner, Steven S.

In 1998 the European Union placed a moratorium on the planting of transgenic crops within its borders. The resulting ban on biotech crops has led to the current trans-Atlantic trade dispute between the United States and the EU. At the heart of this dispute is the issue of consumer acceptance. The EU’s current position is predicated on perceived public concerns about biotech foods which found a voice in numerous opinion polls conducted during the late 1990s (e.g., European Commission, 1997, 2000). Such concerns have also been amplified by intense media coverage and resulting political activism. Given the pivotal role that consumer opinion has played in recent EU policy, an understanding of how consumers value biotech foods is critical to informed policymaking. To date three main approaches have been used to gauge how consumers might respond to genetically modified (GM) foods if they were labeled as such. Opinion or attitudinal surveys are one approach. Two other approaches that are also being used are choice experiments and experimental (auction) market methods. This paper provides a brief overview of each approach, their predictions regarding consumer willingness to pay(WTP) for biotech foods, and their potential advantages and pitfalls in predicting actual consumer behavior in the market place.

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Article provided by Canadian Agricultural Economics Society in its journal CAFRI: Current Agriculture, Food and Resource Issues.

Volume (Year): (2003)
Issue (Month): 04 ()

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Handle: RePEc:ags:cafric:45731
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  1. Schilling, Brian J. & Hallman, William K. & Adelaja, Adesoji O. & Marxen, Lucas J., 2002. "Consumer Knowledge Of Food Biotechnology: A Descriptive Study Of U.S. Residents," Working Papers 18183, Rutgers University, Food Policy Institute.
  2. Huffman, Wallace E. & Rousu, Matthew C. & Shogren, Jason F. & Tegene, Abebayehu, 2002. "Should The United States Initiate A Mandatory Labeling Policy For Genetically Modified Foods?," 2002 Annual meeting, July 28-31, Long Beach, CA 19857, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  3. Shin, Seung Youll & Kliebenstein, James & Hayes, Dermot J. & Shogren, Jason F., 1992. "Consumer Willingness to Pay for Safer Food Products," Staff General Research Papers 546, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  4. Huffman, Wallace & Rousu, Matthew & Shogren, Jason F. & Tegene, Abebayehu, 2002. "Should the United States Regulate Mandatory Labeling for Genetically Modified Foods?," Staff General Research Papers 10047, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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