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Efthimia Tsakiridou Asterios Tsioumanis George Papastefanou Konstadinos Mattas
ABSTRACT. In this study, taking into account the increasing consumers’ interest in quality and food safety, an attempt was made to study how consumers’ beliefs and values associated to Genetically Modified (GM) food and GM production process affect the acceptance and therefore the willingness-to-buy GM food. A survey was simultaneously conducted in two countries, Germany and Greece, using personal interviews, to identify and assess the factors that influence consumers’ willingness-to-buy GM food. Findings revealed that consumers’ acceptance of GM food is strongly influenced by their beliefs and values and the reasoning of their behavior in both countries is based on the same underpinnings. However, noteworthy differences between the two countries have been recorded as well. Finally, understanding the public’s range of views on technological
Efthimia Tsakiridou is Lecturer, Asterios Tsioumanis is Researcher, and Konstadinos Mattas is Professor, all at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Economics, Greece. George Papastefanou is Researcher, Center for Survey Research and Methodology (ZUMA), Mannheim, Germany. Address correspondence to: Konstadinos Mattas, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Economics, P.O. Box 225, 541 24 Thessaloniki, Greece (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Journal of Food Products Marketing, Vol. 13(2) 2007 Available online at http://jfpm.haworthpress.com © 2007 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved. doi:10.1300/J038v13n02_05
socioeconomic characteristics INTRODUCTION Today. E-mail address: <docdelivery@haworthpress. 2004).. personal values)..70 JOURNAL OF FOOD PRODUCTS MARKETING advance in food production is very important to understand and anticipate potential acceptance problems. Benefits and risks. Sequentially. 2001. Several factors. Kaneko and Chern. 2003. 2003. socioeconomic characteristics and cultural background can influence public’s view on GM food and consequently consumers’ acceptance of these products in local and world markets. the whole range of those interconnected factors determines the level of WTB food products. 2001. Rimal et al. 2002.1300/J038v13n02_05 [Article copies available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-HAWORTH.. 2002. Grunert et al. However. Inc. Cook et al. The relation between public views. 2004). In addition. studies conducted on GM food are focusing on measuring either consumer attitudes towards GM food (Kuznesof and Ritson. Burton et al. 2004. among them consumers’ attitudes. Kaneko and Chern. Fortin and Renton. Saba and Vassallo. public views on Genetically Modified (GM) food vary largely.com> Website: <http://www.. Jaeger et al. dichotomous choice model. consumer beliefs..com> © 2007 by The Haworth Press.. personal values. So far. Verdurme and Viaene. 2002. genetically modified food. Therefore. examining whether WTB GM . 2001).HaworthPress. Moon et al. 2004) or consumers’ WTB GM food (Loureiro et al. since they relate GM production process with negative health and environmental aspects (risks) (Fortin and Renton. socioeconomic characteristics and cultural background (Grunert et al.. preventing their acceptance in worldwide markets and influencing consumers’ willingness-to-buy them. 1996. 2004. doi:10.] KEYWORDS. 2004. and the investigation of all those factors can contribute to understand the acceptance or not of GM food. Harrison et al.. Consumers seem reluctant to accept the presence of GM products in food markets. 2004). WTB GM food may differ substantially among countries and societies with different cultural patterns (Chern and Rickertsen. consumers’ acceptance of GM food is affected by a broad mix of factors like consumers’ attitudes (beliefs. 2003. All rights reserved.. acceptance and WTB (willingness-to-buy) GM food is very complicated and very controversial issue.
The TPB postulates three conceptually independent determinants of intention. The more favourable the attitude and the subjective norm with respect to a certain behavior and the greater the perceived behavioral control. 1998. Finally.. 71 food differs between countries. consumers’ attitudes (beliefs and personal values). referring to what extent a person displays a favourable or unfavourable evaluation of the behavior in question. new insights in consumer behavior analysis can be gained (Bagozzi et al. The second determinant is the subjective norm that refers to the perceived social pressure to perform or not a certain behavior. and this determinant is assumed to reflect past experience and anticipated impediments and obstacles. 1991).. 2003). Fortin and Renton. personal values (self-identity) and various socioeconomic factors. 2001. Data were collated from Germany and Greece and the factors that are considered as potential parameters are beliefs about benefits and risks of GM food and GM production process. followed by the discussion of the derived results. The first one is the attitude toward the behavior. the paper ends up with the conclusion section. the stronger should be . socioeconomic characteristics and cultural background that influence the acceptance of GM food and consequently the WTB for GM food. Finally. 2000). via the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). Germany and Greece.Tsakiridou et al. Grunert et al. Saba and Vassallo. The aim of the present study is to identify and examine. Germany represents a modern central and north European culture characterized by loose family bonds and Greece represents a traditional south culture with strong family bonds contemplative to tradition and ethics. METHODOLOGY Model Description The Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) has been used by researchers in studying consumer food choices and attitudes towards GM food (Bredahl et al. The TPB model offers a tool to predict and understand human behavior and to explain behavior intentions that may be subjected to a degree of personal control (Ajzen. In the next section information regarding the followed methodologies is given. the third determinant is the degree of perceived behavioral control that refers to the perceived easiness or difficulty of performing the behavior. This study was conducted in two EU countries. 2002..
It is assumed that WTB is a function of (1) the perceived benefits and risks of GM food and GM production process. The model of WTB GM food comprises the components of TPB model and a self-identity. with varimax rotation. as an additional determinant of intention. (3) personal values (self-identity) and (4) socioeconomic factors. Strong national differences in attitudes towards GM food render the effort to clarify the skewed relationship connecting cultural factors with attitudes towards GM food. which means that benefit beliefs will add to the favourability of GM food. 1993). 1991). The dependent variable. In the classic TPB model a favorable attitude is based on utility outcomes (kind of microeconomic rationality model). was used in order to group the variables according to their relevance. namely 204 from Germany and 229 from Greece. 2002). A Principal Component Factor Analysis (PCA).72 JOURNAL OF FOOD PRODUCTS MARKETING the consumer’s intention to perform the behavior under consideration (Ajzen. a consumer may either be willing to buy or willing not to buy GM food. A total of 433 usable questionnaires were collected. since two categories of willingness are presented. Self-identity is interpreted as a label that people use to describe themselves (how important they consider personal values) (Cook et al. Respondents were selected countrywide by random sampling procedure. Socioeconomic factors included in the model were considered as dummy variables (Table 2). while risk or cost beliefs will lower the favourability. Sampling and Sample Description The survey was conducted simultaneously in Germany and Greece in the spring of 2003.. In the present study. (2) the self-given importance in evaluating benefits and risks of GM food and GM production process. is a dichotomy (dummy) variable. WTB. the TPB model is employed to estimate consumers’ WTB GM food. The internal consistency of each factor within each section was assessed by calculating the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient (Malhotra. Five-point Likert scaling (1 = Strongly disagree to 5 = Strongly agree) for variables relevant to beliefs and (1 = Very unimportant to 5 = Very important) for variables relevant to evaluation of beliefs was used. The results of factor analysis yielded seven units relevant to . Self-identity was included as an additional item in the model as differences in attitudes towards GM food have not been explained adequately in most cases using only socioeconomic variables.
689 0.721 VALOWNDE: Inclination towards planning his/her activities on his/her own (9%) 0.768 0.733 0. is widely used to predict the presence TABLE 1.785 0.442 0. These seven units were used as independent variables in the following analysis.732 0. similar to a linear regression model but suited to models using dichotomous dependent variable. Logistic regression was employed for each country to estimate the factors that influence consumers’ WTB GM food.387 0.788 VALPEACE: Inclination towards living in peace and harmony (6%) 0.759 .821 0.749 0. Factor Analysis on Consumers’ Values Factor interpretation (% variance explained) VALENJOY: Inclination towards life enjoyment (16%) Loading 0.795 0.703 VALAMBIT: Inclination towards being ambitious (13%) 0.720 0.447 VALHPEOP: Inclination towards helping people (8%) 0. 73 personal values (Table 1). Logistic regression.Tsakiridou et al.521 Variables included in the factor It is important to him/her to enjoy life It is important to him/her to do enjoyable things It is important to him/her to be successful It is important to be better than the others It is important to be ambitious He is always looking for adventures He likes taking risks It is important to him/her to have an exciting life It is important to him/her to make his/her own decisions He/she wants to plan his/her activities on his/her own It is important to him to help the people around him It is important to him to be responsive to the needs of his friends It is important to follow traditional customs It is important to him to live in secure surroundings He thinks that is best to do things in a traditional way He thinks that all people irrespectively of their race or nation should live in harmony It is important to the person to bring forward peace between all groups in the world VALRISK: Inclination towards taking risks (10%) VALTRADI: Inclination towards traditional way of living (7%) 0.
otherwise = 0 PRBEL1 Belief: GM food healthier and better quality than conventional food PRBEL2 Belief: GM food is associated with allergy and health threats EVPRBEL1 Value that GM food is healthier and better quality than conventional food EVPRBEL2 Value that GM food is associated with allergy and health threats PROCBEL1 Belief: GM technology increases food supply and reduces food prices PROCBEL2 Belief: GM technology is associated with environmental hazards EPRBEL1 Value that GM technology increases food supply and reduces food prices EPRBEL2 Value that GM technology is associated with environmental hazards VALENJOY Inclination towards life enjoyment VALAMBIT Inclination towards being ambitious VALRISK Inclination towards taking risks VALOWNDE Inclination towards planning his/her activities on his/her own VALHPEOP Inclination towards helping people VALTRADI Inclination towards traditional way of living VALPEACE Inclination towards living in peace and harmony WTBUYGM .000 € = 1. otherwise = 0 AGE 26-35 If 26-35 years old = 1. if NO = 0. otherwise = 0 FEMALE if female = 1. otherwise = 0 INC-LOW (net income per month): if less than 1. otherwise = 0 ED-LOW (education level): if primary school = 1.000 € = 1.000 € = 1. otherwise = 0 AGE 56-65 If 56-65 years old = 1. otherwise = 0 AGE 18-25 If 18-25 years old = 1. otherwise = 0 INC-HIHI (net income per month): if more than 3. 1983). otherwise = 0 ED-HIGH (education level): if university graduate = 1. otherwise = 0 AGE 36-45 If 36-45 years old = 1. otherwise = 0 WITHPART If living with partner = 1.000-under 2. Description of the Variables Used in the WTB Model Dependent Variable (willing to buy a product containing GM ingredients): if YES = 1. otherwise = 0 INC-HI (net income per month): if 2. otherwise = 0 ED-MEDIUM (education level): if high school = 1. Table 2 provides the description of the variables included in the model. Independent Variables MALE if male = 1.000-under 3. TABLE 2.74 JOURNAL OF FOOD PRODUCTS MARKETING or absence of a characteristic or outcome based on values of a set of predictor variables. otherwise = 0 AGE 66-M If > 65 years old = 1.000 € = 1. otherwise = 0 AGE 46-55 If 46-55 years old = 1. otherwise = 0 INC-MEDIUM (net income per month): if 1. Logistic regression coefficients can be used to estimate odds ratios for each of the independent variable in the model (Maddala.
If they believe that GM food is healthier than conventional food (PRBEL1) are willing to buy GM food or the other way around (PRBEL2). 235 males (54. WTB model estimations suggest that socioeconomic factors. As far as beliefs are concerned. In the overall model.7%). Germany and Greece) is a primary school graduate. are over eighteen years old. only 17% of the respondents express their WTB GM food.000€. followed by a comparison between results regarding individual countries (Germany and Greece). 41% within the age group of 26 to 45. consumers are willing to buy or not GM food according to their beliefs. male. Consumer’s inclination towards life enjoyment (VALENJOY) is associated with a negative WTB GM food. Notably.1% of the respondents are married and 66. though detailed results are given in the respective tables for all the studied cases. the results in the overall model are presented in details. In addition. with a net monthly income less than 1. INC-MEDIUM) and partnership (WITHPART) are positively associated with WTB GM food. 75 In the section to follow.3% hold a university degree. 53. beliefs and personal values affect consumers’ WTB GM food (Table 3). This is to avoid tedious repetitions. In the logistic equation this reference consumer is represented by the constant term. Beliefs on the importance or not of GM technology also affect consumers’ WTB. findings suggest that both consumers who believe that GM food cause allergy and health threats (PRBEL2) and consumers who value that GM . Valuing that GM technology increases food supply and reduces prices (EPRBEL1) affects positively the WTB GM food while a belief that GM technology causes environmental hazards (EPRBEL2) corresponds to a negative effect on the WTB GM food. The reference consumer in the three models (overall. In addition.3%) and 198 females (45. over 65 years old. INC-HI. while age (A26-35) has a negative effect on WTB GM food. Results obtained from the Germany model estimation suggest that income (INC-HIHI. RESULTS All surveyed respondents.Tsakiridou et al. Respondents who like to take risks (VALRISK) and to plan their activities on their own (VALOWNDE) are willing to buy GM food. findings indicate that middle aged consumers (between 36 and 45 years) are less willing to buy GM food while consumers who live with a partner (WITHPART) appear to be more willing to buy GM food.
700 0.153 0.256 0.03 0.463 0.191 1.349 0.431* 1.590 0.47 1.674** 0.479 2.420* 0.277* 0.08 1.33 0.16 0.026 0.293* -0.687 1.289 6.83 2 R (Cox & Snell) = 0.622 0.288 0.161 0.137 0.906 0.313 0.165 0.501 1.336 0.194 0.03 0.010 0.140 0.247 0.344 0.127 0.480* 0.03 0.192 0.343 0.98 0.40 0.025 0.883* 0.30 2.354 0.759 Right predictions = 95.44 1.474 2 R (Cox & Snell) = 0.49 1.062 0.386 Right predictions = 86.513 1.291 3.06 0.253** 0.063 1.11 0.16 0.6% Note: The coefficient is significant at the *5% and **10% levels.430 0.493 1.875** 0.11 0.90 0.409 0.478* 0.491* 0.657 1.879 1.592 0.28 0.650 1.224 0.484 2 R (Nagelkerke) = 0.101 0.221 0. .509** 2.76 JOURNAL OF FOOD PRODUCTS MARKETING TABLE 3.366* 0.535** 0.512 0.079 0.312 0.921* 0.646 1.525 0.579 1.329 0.521 0.97 B Coefficient Standard Error B Coefficient Standard Error 0.056 0.097 0.303 0.536 1.419* 0.126 0.383 5.796 1.71 Right predictions = 90.88 0.52 0.8% LR = 107.28 0.363 0.309 0. GM Food WTB Estimates Overall model Germany Greece Variable FEMALE AGE 18-25 AGE 26-35 AGE 36-45 AGE 46-55 AGE 56-65 ED-LOW ED-HIGH INC-MEDIUM INC-HI INC-HIHI WITHPART PRBEL1 PRBEL2 EVPRBEL1 EVPRBEL2 PROCBEL1 PROCBEL2 EPRBEL1 EPRBEL2 VALENJOY VALAMBIT VALRISK VALOWNDE VALHPEOP VALTRADI VALPEACE CONSTANT Model Statistics (Overall) B Coefficient 0.035** 3.288 0.166* 2.073 0.310 1.909 0.55 1.096 0.307* 0.295 0.980 2.350 1.282** 0.4% Model Statistics (Greece) LR = 148.33 0. respectively.362 1.306 0.232 2 R (Nagelkerke) = 0.241 1.266 1.067 2 R (Cox & Snell) = 0.511 0.213 0.967 0.380 1.37 2 R (Nagelkerke) = 0.188 0.434 0.173 0.206 0.222 0.259 0.85 1.119 0.31 1.08 0.21 0.478 1.376 1.121 0.186 0.408 0.535 Model Statistics (Germany) LR = 62.535 1.480 1.
INC-HI. influence German consumers’ WTB positively and Greek consumers’ WTB negatively.8 and 90. The results suggest that the estimated models for Germany. The estimated log-likelihood ratios are significant at a 0. Greece and overall are capable of making over 95. The positive signs of variables related to income (INC-HIHI.4. 86. Consumers’ beliefs that GM food causes allergy and health threats (PRBEL2) and that GM technology causes environmental hazards method (PROCBEL2) are negatively associated with WTB GM food. the R-square values indicate that the estimated model is statistically valid and fits the data reasonably well (Table 3). Variables related to belief that GM food consumption and GM production process is associated with risks have a negative effect on consumers’ WTB GM food in both countries. while tendency in taking risks (VALRISK) positively affects WTB GM food. although the direction of the effect may not be the same in both cases. living with a partner (married or unmarried). Specifically. Results obtained from the model estimation for Greece indicate that WTB GM food is positively influenced by income (INC-HIHI) and age (A56-65) and negatively associated with partnership (WITHPART).Tsakiridou et al. The same sets of socioeconomic characteristics significantly influence WTB GM food in both countries. Consumers who consider the promotion of the welfare of others important (VALHPEOP) and seek peace and harmony (VALPEACE) are not willing to buy GM food.01 significance level. 77 technology causes environmental hazards (EPRBEL2) are not willing to buy GM food. while this holds only for the higher income class (INC-HIHI) Greek consumers. Respondents’ value that GM technology causes environmental hazards (EPRBEL2) has a negative effect on WTB GM food. Respondents’ inclination towards life enjoyment (VALENJOY) is associated with a negative effect on WTB GM food. a valuation that GM technology increases food supply and reduce food prices (EPRBEL1) corresponds to a positive effect on WTB GM food. In addition. Both German and Greek consumers who believe that GM food causes allergy and health threats . INC-MEDIUM) for German consumers indicate that consumers of medium and higher income classes are willing to buy GM food. In addition. respondents who consider important to be ambitious (VALAMBIT) as well as those who like taking risks in their life (VALRISK) are willing to buy GM food. Comparing the findings of the estimated models between German and Greek consumers intriguing similarities and disparities can be noticed (Table 4).6% respectively correct predictions on consumers’ WTB GM food. On the contrary.
000-3. Inclination for life enjoyment negatively affects consumers’ WTB in both countries though it is significant only for the German consumers. The belief that GM technology increases food supply and reduces food prices is found to affect positively German consumers’ WTB GM food and has no effect on Greek consumers’ WTB GM food. CONCLUSIONS The present study deals with the complexity between public’s view on GM food and consumers’ WTB such food products. The belief that GM technology is associated with environmental hazards and is a harmful to natural production negatively affects German consumers’ WTB GM food and does not influence Greek consumers’ WTB GM food. WTB GM food is influenced by consumers’ personal values as well.000 Income (€) 2. Comparison Between the Two Country Models Variables AGE 26-35 AGE 56-65 Income (€) 1.000 Income (€) MORE THAN 3. Helping people and living in peace and harmony are values affecting negatively the WTB in both countries but the parameter is significant only for the Greek consumers. Taking risks is a value with a positive effect on WTB GM food for both the German and the Greek consumers.000-2. An attempt was .000 Living with partner Belief: GM food is associated with allergy and health threats Value that GM food is associated with allergy and health threats Belief: GM technology is associated with environmental hazards Value that GM technology increases food supply and reduces food prices Value that GM technology is associated with environmental hazards Inclination to enjoy life Inclination to be ambitious Inclination to take risks Inclination to help people Inclination to live in peace and harmony Germany Greece are less WTB GM food.78 JOURNAL OF FOOD PRODUCTS MARKETING TABLE 4. Being ambitious is a value with a positive influence on Greek consumers’ WTB GM food.
79 made to collate data and information from consumers with diverse cultures in different countries. However. In addition. or. which it was applied using the entire data (overall model) and then exclusively country’s data. to take consumer or public desires and concerns into account in the development of technological advances. personal beliefs and values. This suggestion may bring forth interesting considerations. identity outcomes (risk taking) are important for WTB GM food in both cultures. personal values (self-identity) and socioeconomic characteristics help to explain consumers’ WTB GM food was confirmed. These factors can be grouped into two main clusters. The investigation was accomplished mainly by introducing a modified TPB model. Greek consumers are more reluctant to buy GM food and more sceptic towards potential risks associated with GM than German respondents. The similarity of some of the results across the two countries is noteworthy. . Generally speaking. differences among the two countries indicate that further inter-country research is required to identify the range of variation towards the acceptance of GM foods and to formulate a more effective marketing strategy on GM food. beliefs that GM could be of better quality and beneficial to health comparing to conventional food production affect positively the WTB GM food.Tsakiridou et al. and various socioeconomic factors. WTB model estimates suggest that both socioeconomic factors and beliefs and values affect consumers’ WTB though with some variation between different cultures. Understanding the public’s range of views on technological advances (GM) in food products is important to understand and anticipate potential acceptance problems. additional to utility (beliefs direct personal effects). This consumers’ belief that GM food is associated with health threats and allergy influence negatively the WTB. Consumers in both countries generally form a negative opinion towards GM food and cannot easily acknowledge and accept potential benefits from buying GM food. Comparing factors influencing WTB in Greece and Germany separately. In many cases the factors that significantly influence WTB GM are the same in the two countries. showing that some stable mechanisms are at work in determining consumer acceptance or not of GM food. On the contrary. An overall conclusion derived from the present study is that the acceptance of GM food is strongly influenced by consumers’ beliefs and personal values. the general hypothesis that beliefs. one step further. A broad range of factors affecting WTB GM food are considered. In the overall model. it was found that. Germany and Greece. Germany and Greece.
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