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CONSUMER ATTITUDES AND DECISION-MAKING WITH REGARD TO GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD PRODUCTS

Exploitable results

The objectives of the project are to investigate how consumers form attitudes towards genetic modification in food production, how the attitudes interact with other factors in determining consumers' purchase decisions, and how attitudes and purchase decisions are affected by various information strategies. The objectives are achieved through a sequence of seven tasks, most of which have now been executed. Four social science methods have been combined in the project; two qualitative and two quantitative: expert focus groups and laddering interviews have been used to investigate concepts relevant to attitude with regard to genetic modification in food production; surveys and experimental choice simulation have been used to estimate attitude and purchase decision models and for investigating effects of three different information strategies. The empirical research has been carried out in four European countries: Denmark; Germany; Italy and the U.K. To obtain results that reflect real consumer behaviour and consumer attitudes, the project has made use of two concrete product examples with different consumer benefits. The examples with different consumer benefits. The examples were beer brewed on genetically modified yeast yoghurt containing genetically modified starter culture. Results show considerable skepticism towards the application of genetic modification in food production overall and towards resulting products, no matter whether they contain genetically modified organisms. This skepticism is largely explained by perceived few consumer-relevant benefits and perceived uncontrolled and undesirable consequences. Consumer attitudes and purchase willingness differ among countries, With Danish and German consumers as the least supportive of gene technology in food production. In general, consumers attitudes are also shown to differ from experts' attitudes, specifically as regards the perception of risk resulting from applying gene technology in food production. Finally, choice experiments under different informational conditions did not show significant effects on consumer attitudes. te