Understanding Receptivity to Genetically Modified Foods

Consumers in the united states and Europe have not fully embraced genetically modified (gm) foods. In the United States, public opinion remains undecided, whereas in Europe, people tend to regard such foods in a negative light. While opposition to gm products may be more vig- orous in Europe, consumer enthusiasm for these foods is actually quite limited on both sides of the Atlantic. Policy makers and industry executives have struggled to grasp why consumers have not greeted these foods more enthusiastically. Contrary to apparent industry opinion, economics at the consumer level is not the only factor to consider when trying to understand consumer response to gm foods. For instance, people may make decisions about gm products based on such broad considerations as which authorities people trust and which social values are important to them, not just on what they know of the science involved or how much these foods cost relative to their immediate risks and benefits. As social scientists, we offer this commentary as a critique of economic determinism at the consumer decision-making level.

Citation: Lang, John T. and Susanna Priest. 2007. “Understanding Receptivity to Genetically Modified Foods: Looking at the Broader Context.” Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture 7(3): 88-92.

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