Consumer perception of food products involving genetic modification: Results from a qualitative study in four Nordic countries

Klaus G. Grunert, Liisa Lähteenmäki, Niels Asger Nielsen, Jacob B. Poulsen, Oydis Ueland, Annika Åström

    Research output: Working paper/Preprint Working paperResearch

    1090 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    1. The present study addresses consumer acceptance of food products involving the use of different applications of genetic modification in four Nordic countries. Three food products were used as examples: hard cheese, hard candy, and salmon. Three types of applications of genetic modification were investigated: modification of the raw material, use of genetic modification in enzyme production, and direct use of genetically modified microorganisms. In addition, three levels of presence of the genetically modified material in the final product were investigated: not present, present, and present and living/able to function. 2. The results from consumer samples in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden are remarkably similar, showing a strong stability in consumer reactions to the use of genetic modification in food production in these four countries. 3. Consumer perception is characterised by a basic dichotomy of GM and non-GM products. Being non-GM is regarded as a major benefit in itself. When a product involves genetic modification, this elicits numerous negative assocations, of which the strongest ones are 'unhealthy' and 'uncertainty.' 4. The level of presence of the genetically modified material in the final product has a clear impact on consumer acceptance. When the GM material is present and viable/able to function, acceptance is lowest. 5. The type of application of genetic modification has an impact on consumer acceptance as well, but it differs across products. Still, there is a clear tendency that acceptance of salmon products where the salmon itself was genetically modified was lowest among all products tested. 6. The consumer benefits which the application of GM brings about (e.g., improved taste, functional benefits, environmental benefits) are largely perceived, but cannot overcompensate for the negative associations to GM. In some cases, a supposed benefit (e.g., faster growth of salmon, leading to reduced energy costs) was actually perceived as a disadvantage. Benefits combining personal tangible benefits with societal relevance (e.g., a low calorie candy which can be consumed by people suffering from diabetes) may have most positive impact on consumer acceptance.
    Translated title of the contributionConsumer perception of food products involving genetic modification: Results from a qualitative study in four Nordic countries
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages105
    Publication statusPublished - 2000

    Keywords

    • MAPP
    • Genetic modification
    • Consumer acceptance
    • Cheese
    • Candy
    • Salmon
    • Food production
    • Forbrugeropfattelse
    • Genmodifikation
    • Genmodificerede fødevarer
    • Forbrugeraccept
    • Ost
    • Slik
    • Laks
    • Fødevareproduktion

    Cite this