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Crop Biotech Update

Understanding Benefits Increases Consumers' Willingness to Accept, Buy Novel Foods

September 1, 2021

A study reports that consumers' acceptance and willingness to pay for foods derived from new plant engineering techniques (NPETs) such as gene editing tend to increase when they are attributed to benefits. The data can help support future studies in assessing the commercialization efforts of NPET-derived foods.

The research team from the University of Nebraska Lincoln conducted the review to identify the conditioning factors that can increase the acceptance and willingness to pay for novel foods in segmented consumers. Using available articles written in English online that underwent screening, they analyzed how information and knowledge interact with consumer acceptance of novel foods and technologies. They were able to identify key determinants such as heterogeneity of consumers across cultures and borders, and attitudes towards science and emerging innovation during their review.

They found that large segments of consumers are willing to consume and pay for NPET-derived foods if these embody useful traits that they consider beneficial to human and animal health, and the environment. However, the researchers noted that the limited commercialization of the novel foods precludes a study on consumer preferences thus future validation studies in actual retailing situations are recommended. In terms of labeling, the study found that it is preferable for consumers due to their concern about process attributes and the improved characteristics that the novel food contains. According to the researchers, labeling may also promote public acceptance of NPETs by helping the consumers make the connection between the technology and the novel foods.

The researchers' final recommendation is that the findings are useful for marketing and distribution of food, and food retail markets are competitive. Therefore, further assessment of commercialization efforts of NPET-derived foods will also be useful.

Read the full review from Iowa State University to find out more.

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