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Consumer research: Shoppers willing to buy gene-edited food if they know its benefits

The FMI Foundation in partnership with the American Seed Trade Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and the Farm Foundation, today released a consumer research study measuring market potential for gene-edited products.

The nationwide survey examined U.S. consumers beliefs, awareness, and understanding of gene editing in food and agriculture, and their willingness to pay for gene-edited foods as it pertains to fresh and processed vegetables and meat.

Dr. Vincenzina Caputo, assistant professor at the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics at Michigan State University, and his colleagues surveyed nearly 5,000 U.S. food shoppers who completed simulated purchasing scenarios. Respondents chose between products depicted to be organic, non-GMO, bio-engineered, conventional, or gene edited.

Some of the key takeaways from the research include:

  • More than half of consumers have never heard of gene editing.
  • Despite limited awareness of gene editing, most consumers still value having the option to buy gene-edited foods.
  • Consumers are more willing to purchase gene-edited foods when they know the specific benefits to the consumer, the environment and animal health.
  • When consumers are informed of the benefits of gene editing, market potential for gene-edited products exceeds 15 percent.

According to Leslie Sarasin, President and CEO of FMI, the Food Industry Association: “We know from experience that new technologies can initially cause consumer confusion, so it is our hope that these research results serve as a path forward for the food and agriculture industries to collaborate and facilitate a better understanding and a common language around gene-edited products.”

“The promise that gene editing brings to farmers and ranchers in helping them address some of the most challenging issues means that it is critical we get out in front and engage our neighbors on the benefits of gene editing,” said Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, the nation’s largest general farm organization.

Read the full article here.
To read the full consumer report, go to www.fmifoundation.org.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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