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Evaluating Consumer Response to GM Foods: Some Methodological Considerations

Leonie A. Marks, Nicholas G. Kalaitzandonakes and Steven Vickner

CAFRI: Current Agriculture, Food and Resource Issues, 2003, issue 4, 15

Abstract: 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.

Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy; Consumer/Household Economics; Research Methods/ Statistical Methods (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2003
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DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.45731

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