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Revealed preferences of genetically modified food in direct marketing experiments in Switzerland: Does it matter who sells it?

Applicant Aerni Philipp
Number 115589
Funding scheme NRP 59 Benefits and Risks of the Deliberate Release of Genetically Modified Plants
Research institution Agrarökonomie und -politik ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.06.2007 - 30.06.2010
Approved amount 325'342.00
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All Disciplines (3)


Keywords (6)

Transgenic corn; revealed preferences; direct marketing; consumer experiments; sales group sensitivity; price sensitivity

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Genetically modified food: Just how sceptical are consumers?The general public in Switzerland has a negative attitude towards genetically modified food. This view is supported by numerous surveys, and the moratorium voted in 2005. But how is this negative attitude reflected in people’s purchasing habits? Does it depend on who is selling the food and how much it costs?BackgroundPrevious surveys of public attitudes to genetically modified food in Switzerland have required participants to state what they think of genetically modified food products or how much they are willing to pay for them. Genetically modified foods do not score well in these surveys. But would the same people really buy them if these products were available? This question has not been addressed so far because there are hardly any genetically modified food products on the Swiss market.ObjectivesDirect-marketing experiments will be carried out to investigate whether and to what extent people’s stated purchasing intentions regarding genetically modified food products coincide with their actual purchasing behaviour. The project will also look at whether purchasing behaviour is influenced by who is selling the food and how much it costs.MethodsThree types of home-baked bread - made from organic, normal and genetically modified cornmeal - will be offered for a few weeks at market stalls in Basle, Berne, Lausanne and Zurich. The genetically modified cornmeal originates from either Spain or the United States and has been given regulatory approval by the Federal Office of Public Health for use in Switzerland. In a first round the price of the different types of bread will be varied. In the second round, representatives of a agrochemical company, local farmers and schoolchildren will takes turns selling the bread. The project will record how many loaves of each type are bought and the factors that led to the purchasing decision in each case.SignificanceThis will be the first study carried out in Switz-erland to examine on an experimental basis whether what consumers say about genetically modified food coincides with their actual purchasing behaviour - and how big the gap is. The project will produce the first figures documenting this behaviour, i.e. the revealed preferences of the Swiss public. This could contribute to a more informed public debate.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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