Are you one of these "new technology rejecters"?
Apparently you will be the one getting a label if
you don't want GMOs or nanoparticles in your food. Read on...
research from North Carolina State University and the
University of Minnesota showed that people were willing to
consume food with nanotechnology (particles, chips for purposes
of tracking and changing texture, taste) - but they wanted it
labeled and were willing to pay more to have nano-free or nano-labeled
The duo is back to tell you what it would take to get consumers
to finally accept
genetically modified organisms and
nanotech in their food -
with a dose of chiding, that is.
The researchers conducted what they say is a nationally
representative survey of 1,117 U.S. consumers. Participants were
asked to answer an array of questions that explored their
willingness to purchase foods that contained GM tech and foods
that contained nanotech.
The questions also explored the price of the various foods and
whether participants would buy foods that contained nanotech or
GM tech if the foods had enhanced nutrition, improved taste,
improved food safety, or if the production of the food had
(Hopefully, the questions were asked in
a purely theoretical light because so far, GMO and nanotech
foods have delivered none of those things.)
Dr. Jennifer Kuzma, senior author of a paper on the research and
co-director of the Genetic Engineering in Society Center at NC
(Her position reveals an obvious bias, but wait until you
find out what label you get if you don't accept GMOs and
general, people are willing to pay more to avoid GM or
nanotech in foods, and people were more averse to GM tech
than to nanotech.
However, it's not really that simple. There were some
qualifiers, indicating that many people would be willing to
buy GM or nanotech in foods if there were health or safety
They broke the participants up into four groups - guess which
label you fall into?
Eighteen percent of participants belonged to a group
labeled the "new technology rejecters" - they would
not by GM or nanotech foods under any circumstances. (Luddites!)
Nineteen percent of participants belonged to a group
labeled the "technology averse," which would buy GM
or nanotech foods only if those products conveyed food
Twenty-three percent of participants were "price
oriented," basing their shopping decisions primarily on
the cost of the food - regardless of the presence of GM or
And 40 percent of participants were "benefit
oriented," meaning they would buy GM or nanotech foods
if the foods had enhanced nutrition or food safety.
Therefore, they concluded that if nutrition and safety were
promised factors, people would gobble up the "benefits." Gotta
love those labels...
This tells us that GM or nanotech food products have greater
potential to be viable in the marketplace if companies focus
on developing products that have safety and nutrition
benefits - because a majority of consumers would be willing
to buy those products.
From a policy standpoint, it also argues that GM and
nanotech foods should be labeled, so that the technology
rejecters can avoid them. (You can avoid them, but you
will still get called names! emphasis added)
Where, pray-tell, did they find the participants for this survey
- certainly not in Hawaii, Oregon, or California, where GMOs are
considered the bane of environment and health and where people
take unadulterated food seriously.
GMOs have not delivered on
their promises of ending hunger, better health and better
environment. The majority of the public remains unaware of
unregulated nanotech in their food.
No, folks, the purpose of the survey on engineered foods is to
engineer YOU. (But of course it has the added
benefit of helping food producers to
market to you.) To blindly accept what is unacceptable or thus,
be cast aside.
The paper, "Heterogeneous
Consumer Preferences for Nanotechnology and Genetic-modification
Technology in Food Products," is published online in the
Journal of Agricultural Economics.
Lead author of the paper
is Dr. Chengyuan Yue of the University of Minnesota. The paper
was co-authored by Shuoli Zhao, a graduate student at UM.
research was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of