Consumers' Evaluation of Biotechnology in Food Products: New Evidence from a Meta-Survey
This study examines the systematic evidence entailed in existing research on consumers’ evaluation of biotechnology in food products. The extant literature related to this topic typically originates from a variety of research disciplines, but shares an underlying focus in dealing with the issue of public acceptance of biotechnology in food and its corresponding behavioural processes. We develop a meta-study methodology to measure the envelope of an underlying construct that represents consumer evaluation of biotechnology in food products. The analysis combines information from 1673 survey questions out of 214 different studies. Findings from our mixed effects meta-model show that survey questions with positive (negative) connotations about biotechnology tend to be associated with positive (negative) measures of evaluation. Stated benefits of biotechnologies in food do not produce any significant positive reaction. Price discounts, increased production and various perceived risks generate negative coefficients. The EU dummies appear insignificant, while previous meta-studies found significant negative evaluation among EU consumers. We show that survey questions related e.g. to risk and ethical concerns have been asked more often in EU surveys compared to non-EU countries. Our study sheds further light on those aspects that appear the most influential ones in directing consumer evaluation of biotechnology in food products. Furthermore, we discuss potential strategies for future research- and policy design in relation to these technologies.
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