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Crop Biotech Update

Study Documents How Consumer Knowledge Influence Attitudes Towards GM Foods in Korea

November 4, 2020

A study was conducted in Korea to examine the influence of consumers' knowledge on their perceptions and purchase intentions towards genetically modified (GM) foods. The responses were then analyzed to identify the implications for the sustainable development of the Korean food industry.

Using data from the 1,000 adult respondents of the 2014 Survey on Consumers' Perception of GMOs by the National Institute of Agricultural Sciences, the new study used a secondary analysis method to examine the consumers' responses to GM foods on risk and benefit perceptions, and purchase intention based on their knowledge types. The results were:

  • The consumers had a relatively low objective and subjective knowledge implying that they may underestimate their actual knowledge making them feel less confident about the consumption of GM foods.
  • Education is a significant determinant of imbalanced knowledge groups and objective knowledge needs to be delivered through educational programs. Media dependency and GM food-related information tendencies are also significant determinants of consumers' knowledge levels. Consumers with lower education feel less confident despite high objective methods while educated consumers are overconfident with their knowledge. Educating and empowering consumers with useful information is considered a way to help them avoid food safety risks and make decisions by evaluating the benefits and risks of GM foods.
  • Attitudes and purchase intention were influenced by knowledge level. Consumers with high levels of subjective knowledge tend to be more conscious of the risks and less attentive about the benefits of GM foods because they simply perceive that they have sufficient knowledge about GM foods, thus cannot make evidence-based decisions about the risks and benefits of GM foods.

The researchers recommended that the Korean government has to expand the safety management system for GM foods and secure public understanding and trust in the government in order for Korean consumers to have a positive attitude toward GM foods in the future.

The study was published by GM Crops & Food.

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