Free trade and GM crops: Price sensitive European consumers, blocked from buying most GM products, are willing to buy innovative foods

injecting bio corn

While the political opposition to biotech crops in the European Union is well entrenched, consumers are willing to take a science based view of the costs and benefits of innovation when making real life purchasing decisions. That’s the takeaway from an extensive analysis reported in Social Stigma and Consumer Benefits: Trade-offs in Adoption of Genetically Modified Foods by researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

The researchers found when three options were offered–certified organic, locally grown or 100% spray free genetically modified fruit, there was marked preference for the organic option when offered at the market price. GM fruit generally sells for less a discount because production costs are lower, the result of using less pesticides. Substantial price sensitivity for the GM option was shown when there was a 15 percent premium price for organic and a 15 percent discount for the GM fruit. At the lower price, the GM market share jumped to 30-60 percent.

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