The Food Industry Association (FMI) Foundation released a study on “Consumer Acceptance of Gene Edited Foods,” in which researchers surveyed more than 4,000 U.S. food shoppers to determine market potential and consumers’ beliefs, knowledge, understanding and acceptance of gene-editing technology and gene-edited foods.
“Results of this study reveal consumers generally think about gene-editing in a negative light,” the report summarized. “However, over half of the respondents indicate having never heard of the technology. Simply informing consumers about the technology has trivial effects on willingness-to-pay, but specific information about the benefits of gene-editing can significantly improve consumer acceptance of gene-editing.”
Despite somewhat negative opinions about gene-edited food, the researchers found that when consumers are informed about the benefits of gene-editing, the market share for gene-edited products compared to another alternative is more than 15 percent. More specifically, consumers are willing to pay up to $0.23 per choice to have the option of buying gene-edited food products, the report said, primarily because of messaging about its contribution to sustainability and benefits to the environment.
In its conclusion, the report’s authors noted “that while gene-editing is likely to face challenges that are mostly borne out of a lack of knowledge, these challenges can be mitigated with the provision of information that includes the benefits of the technology.”