Previous research has demonstrated that gene transfer techniques are perceived differently by different people and that their acceptability depends considerably on risk-benefit considerations. Despite the prospective benefits claimed by Genetically Modified (GM) food promoters, public acceptance remains low. Individual preferences are affected by many factors, including: personal utility (price, improved nutritional characteristics), risk perception, and beliefs (sustainable development). Consequently, purchase behavior could be a suitable indicator of attitudes in GMP choice. In this respect, Discrete Choice Methodology proves to be a valuable tool for estimating such attitudes. This methodology assumes that people purchase goods by comparing the costs and benefits of each alternative. The final choice is the product that maximizes the consumer’s utility and the one for which she or he is most willing to pay. The use of Discrete Choice Analysis helps to identify the key variables that affect purchase decisions by providing information on preferences for various aspects of a complex food system. Consequently, the results of our analysis may provide valuable guidelines for scientific research, as well as for defining strategies for GMO management and development.

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The discrete choice analysis as a valuable tool for estimating consumer attitudes towards genetically modified food in europe

Floriana Marin   Istituto Agrario di San Michele all’Adige, Italy

Lucia Martinelli   Istituto Agrario di San Michele all’Adige, Italy

Previous research has demonstrated that gene transfer techniques are perceived differently by different people and that their acceptability depends considerably on risk-benefit considerations. Despite the prospective benefits claimed by Genetically Modified (GM) food promoters, public acceptance remains low. Individual preferences are affected by many factors, including: personal utility (price, improved nutritional characteristics), risk perception, and beliefs (sustainable development). Consequently, purchase behavior could be a suitable indicator of attitudes in GMP choice. In this respect, Discrete Choice Methodology proves to be a valuable tool for estimating such attitudes. This methodology assumes that people purchase goods by comparing the costs and benefits of each alternative. The final choice is the product that maximizes the consumer’s utility and the one for which she or he is most willing to pay. The use of Discrete Choice Analysis helps to identify the key variables that affect purchase decisions by providing information on preferences for various aspects of a complex food system. Consequently, the results of our analysis may provide valuable guidelines for scientific research, as well as for defining strategies for GMO management and development.

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