1 Department of Marketing and Statistics, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 MAPP - Centre for Research on Customer Relations in the Food Sector, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 unknown
Many researchers and food companies strain at the leash to use genetic modification. Consumers, on the other hand, reject GM food products. This is one of many results of a EU funded project about consumers' attitudes and decisionmaking with regard to GM food products. Consumers' scepticism towards GM food products is causedlargely by a general concern regarding health and environmental consequences. Genetic modification is to a much higher degree linked with risks than with advantages. Risks are not perceived only as risks to oneself but also to close family and future generations. The perceived risks also influence how possible advantages that have been built into the products by means of genetic modification, are perceived. In general, advantages therefore cannot counterbalance risks in the mind of consumers. Consumers' aversion towards GM food products can also be explained through their general attitudes. The group of consumers that do not like new and different products, are relatively more averse to GM food products. This also goes for consumers who are concerned about nature and who in general believe that man has no right to rule over plants and animals as well as for consumers who have a negative attitudes towards technology in general. Much points to the fact that consumers' aversion towards GM food products is quite stable. In the study, increased information on GM did not increase consumers' acceptance of GM food products. Furthermore there is evidence that consumers reject genetic modification in general without considering specific applications. This may, however, change if more GM food products with obvious consumer benefits are introduced to the market. The study has dealt with attitudes towards GM food products in Denmark, Germany, Great Britain and Italy. The overall picture is the same, but there are some differences. For instance the aversion towards GM food products is most pronounced in Denmark and Germany. The importance of perceived risks is lower in Italy than in the other three countries.