created about 1 year ago | Tagged:
Consumers want access to food that has been genetically modified to be healthier and are willing to pay significantly more for it, according to a new study.
“What we found was when genes for enhancing the amount of antioxidants and vitamin C in fresh produce were transferred by intragenic methods, consumers are willing to pay 25 percent more than for the plain product (with no enhancements). That is a sizable increase,” says Wallace Huffman, distinguished professor of economics at Iowa State University.
Intragenic modification refers to plants that are genetically modified with genes from other plants within their own species. Transgenic foods refer to plants that are modified with genes from other species. Consumer traits are modifications that are seen as a benefit to the consumer—enhanced levels of vitamins for example. Farmer traits refer to traits that benefit farmers, such as pest and drought resistance.
Research in 2001 showed that consumers were willing to pay 15 percent less for foods made from or containing farmer traits introduced by transgenic methods, compared with produce that was not genetically modified at all. If there remains any hesitation by consumers to eat genetically modified foods, it is difficult to say, Huffman says, but buying modified foods no longer seems to make consumers uneasy.
Consumers gave more weight to the information from the food industry than from the environmental groups. The neutral information moderated the negative effect of environmental group information.