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

| June 4, 2012

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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