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Examining Consumer Attitudes Toward Genetically Modified And Organic Foods

Ronald B. Larson

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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine consumer attitudes toward genetically modified (GM) and organic foods with a broader list of control variables that includes green attitudes, impulsive purchasing, concerns about privacy, religiosity, birth order, and political preferences. Design/methodology/approach US internet panelists were asked about their preferences for purchasing non-GM produce, non-GM cereal, and organic products even if they cost a little more. They were also asked if genetically engineered foods are safe to consume. Responses to these four questions were dependent variables in binary logistic regressions. The sample size was 725 adults. Findings Attitudes toward non-GM produce and non-GM cereal were linked with different variables. Green attitudes were positively linked with non-GM and organic food attitudes. Impulsive purchases, a religiosity factor, and a privacy concern factor were linked with non-GM but not organic food attitudes. Social desirability bias was also significant. The genetically engineered food model identified some unique linkages with the control variables, suggesting that these terms may not improve consumer confidence with food. Originality/value New measures and several variables that researchers independently found to be significant were tested together in models and found to be linked with organic and non-GM food attitudes. Some expected relationships were not found. The results provide better profiles of consumers who have strong attitudes toward GM and organic foods.