Gm Food

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Title: What attitudes does consumers have on purchasing genetically modified foods (GMF)?


“Genetically modified (GM) foods are food items that have had their DNA changed through genetic engineering.” (Mavis 2008). As the population of the world has continued to grow, the supply pressure of food has become more and more significant. With the development of Genetically Modified biotechnology, GM Foods have been come into our daily lives. Though GM foods can help to improve the quality of life, there are risks to complete trust in GM foods. What’s more important, a part of consumers still have doubts about the understanding towards GM food.

The question” What attitudes does consumers have on purchasing genetically modified food?” is meaningful because that the issue about GM foods is becoming increasingly controversial. The controversies towards GM foods generally focus on environmental ethics, food security, poverty alleviation and environmental conservation. As customers are divided on their relative importance, some supporters claim that the GM technology can solve the problem of food crisis and poverty. They also consider that GM foods are beneficial to environment such as they can protect soil and water. However, opponents think that GM foods should have some potential threat to human health and they violate the rules of nature by mixing genes among different species. The purpose of this research is to gain a deep understand about the consumers’ attitudes towards purchasing GM foods and find out if most of consumers can accept GM foods. (Hutchison, 2004)

Literature review

In the last few years, many articles on the consumers’ attitudes toward GM food have appeared. There is a concise review of existing literature that evaluates consumers’ attitudes as following.

Most of the information on European attitudes comes from a journal by Bredahl, Grunert, and Scholderer (2003). The article focuses on posted and answered four questions on European consumers’ attitudes towards the use of GM food. These four questions are: (1) how negative are consumer attitudes to the event “GM technology applied in food production”? (2) How do these negative attitudes affect the preference of consumer for GM products? (3) How deeply does these attitudes rooted in customers’ opinion? (4) Will the new information and experience change the customers’ attitudes? Bredahl, Grunert, and Scholderer (2003) believe that these four questions are central for understanding the consumers’ attitudes about GM food.

The article use some tables to evaluate the consumers’ attitudes about genetic modification in food production in seven European countries which are the UK, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway , Italy and Sweden. The data shows that most of the customer have negative attitude towards GM food, the average support for GM foods is quite low. The national differences can also be showed through the table: the attitude is most positive in Italy, and is most negative in Germany and the Scandinavian countries, while Finland and the UK in a middle position. And the article also showed some other surveys to support this result, for example, the Eurobarometer surveys, which is a most well know one, have also shown that most of consumers do not like GM foods (Frewer & Shepherd, 1995 and Durant, Bauer & Gaskell, 1998European Commission, 1997, European Commission, 2000,) 

For the question how these negative attitudes affect the preference of consumer for GM foods, Bredahl, Grunert, and Scholderer (2003) have design a research about yoghurt. In general, consumers prefer the low-Fat yoghurt, but the yoghurt will become non-attractive consistency if they produced based on skimmed milk. Though using additives can improve this problem, many consumers don’t like additives. However, by using GM technology, the yoghurt can be enough consistency, fat-free and no additives. It provided a good basis for the consumer preferences....
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