To have life on the earth food, drinking water and fresh air are the basic requirement. Without these life is not possible. The way population is increasing, demand of these basics also increasing. Every country has to find the new sources of these 3 basic requirements otherwise it is difficult to cope up with the demand. Dependability on natural sources is not enough for this purpose. In this new era, technological changes have changed the world scenario. Technological enhancement made life smooth and easy.
Biotechnology is another technological change which occurred in to the field of biology. It is becoming one of the most growing industries in the world. Technology includes genetic engineering to change the plants, animals from the root of their gene and this alteration has contributed significant progress in the medical, pharmaceutical and agriculture (Brown, 1995).
Economies need to increased production by innovation and modernize the production process because drastic increase in population. To meet the demand genetically modification of food seeds and animals targeted at improving the productivity and quality of the food (Robinson, 2002).
Introduction of biotechnology into agricultural production is one of the most important steps. The purpose of genetic modification (GM) technology on crops and the consequential genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are measured important but controversial advancements in science and technology. Even though, promises and benefits make known by many companies and the regulatory bodies such as reduction of pesticide usage, advanced crop yields, improved nutritional values etc. GMF is still controversial subject in many countries.
Introduction of GMF in consumer markets shown significant social, political and economical implications. But in this process food safety become the critical issue with focusing on food and environmental quality. Consumer's response in the acceptance of GMF, will decide the success or failure of the products and companies. Hence, until we know about the consumer behavior about the GMF companies and scientist will not be able to know about its success (Madden, 1995).
Many consumers from European Union and Japan have not accepted GM product with open heart (Macer and Ng, 2000). They are feeling hesitation in buying the GM product because they are not aware about the products effect on the health of human being. And there are some ethical and religious concerns which includes possible intake of genes from animal contained in GMF, and there is no differentiation of those products available.
Public approach for biotechnology and its applications are majorly determined by perceived risks and benefits connected with genetic engineering (Frewer, Hedderley, Howard and Shepherd, 1997; Yeung and Morris, 2001). In turn, consumer knowledge of GMF as well as socio-economic factors, demographic factors and ethical concerns all contribute to shaping opinions and beliefs (Hoban, 1999). Several studies have found out and analyzed the relationship between risk perception and consumer acceptance. Evidence shows that there are noticeable differences in attitudes between and within countries (Fortin and Renton, 2003; Frewer, Shepherd and Sparks, 1994; Frewer, Howard and Shepherd, 1995; Jerling, Kempen and Scholtz, 2003; Mitchell, 1999; Pouris, 2003; Saba, Rosati and Vasallo, 2000; Verdurme and Viaene, 2003; Wansink and Kim, 2001a; Yeung and Morris, 2001). In the United States and Asia, acceptance level in the consumers is very low compare with the Europeans and Africans (Hoban, 2004).
Hence, acceptance of GM Products has become a fundamental factor on how successful the market will be in future. Private and Public investments depend on the development and the use of GMF. So consumer perception and acceptance for GMF is playing a crucial role in the international market.
Guiding principle judgment has been implemented with limited understanding of public attitudes. Even though the apparently sufficient information is available for research on consumer perception and approach for biotechnology or for GM foods, has been inadequate. In the majority cases, the methodology adopted heavily relied on qualitative questions and descriptive comparisons. Few attempted to quantify the consumer's purchase behavior and to investigate the willingness to buy GM foods. Also, the continually changing approach expressed by consumers indicates the need to examine and get more up-to-date data on consumer attitudes for GM foods. Further, hardly any studies have endeavor for approximation of the consumer's readiness to pay for GM or non-GM foods in the writing. This study is designed to provide the estimates based on consumer attitude for GM foods and other characters. This study, presents only the analysis of a survey conducted in London, UK. Specifically, the objectives of this study are to analyze the consumer acceptance of GM foods and to conduct a contingent valuation of the readiness to pay for products with and without GMO ingredients.
Consumer became key word in the GMF in late 1990s in UK. Marketers represented different strategies of in the process of commercialization. British food industry tried to produce and exact picture of the consumers of GMF and showed some successful marketing strategy for GMF. A wide-ranging labeling policy was seen as the key to deal with consumer demands and concerns, but this strategy shortly tail off, as companies discarded the use of transgenic components under pressure from anti-GM campaigners (Lezaun, 2000).
Consumers have reported tremendous opposition for GMF. In reaction, all the major UK supermarkets and food companies have proved again their commitment to keep GMF out of their own brand products (Greenpeace, 2006)
The independent newspaper's MORI poll found the opposition to GMF in UK is constant. The poll showed that 56% of the population is against and only 14% in favor. In the women section 61% are against it and only 10% are in favor. So from these findings it's proved that opposition for GMF is surprisingly stable (Greenpeace, 2006).
In spite of many commercial and educational researches there are much confusion about the purchasing behavior and perceptions of the consumers towards GMF. Today's customers are more sensitive and conscious about the products than ever. The vast commercial potential of biotechnology in the world will smooth the progress of the evolution of affordable, higher yielding and nutritionally enhanced crop multiplicity. This technology will symbolize a significant factor of a country's ability to conflict food scarcity. On the other hand, the utilization of genetic engineering in the food industry has important separated opinions worldwide. This has solemn proposition for the production and promotion of GMF. Full market access and public acceptance will determine the success of GMF.
Biotechnology administrators have to take such type of strategy so that the customers have positive attitude for GMF and which lead to success of the industry. Biotechnology is little bit difficult for the general public at large and in such case effective and creative communication will help to the public in understanding the science. Introduction of GMF in the markets will be the major challenge to the business leaders of the food industry.
1.3. Purpose of the study
The purpose of the study is to found out the attitude, awareness, purchase behavior and factors of that behavior of a consumer for biotechnology and GMF. This result helps to the business leaders and marketers in producing and marketing the GMF.
1.4. Research Objectives
The basic objective of the study was to determine the awareness level for GMF among the consumers. Companies produce the genetically modified food, but consumers are not ready to purchase the products then products fail in the market and producer have great loss as they spent lot of money for research and development. So it is necessary to study the consumer's approach for GMF. The intention of current study is to analyze the awareness, attitudes and purchase intentions of consumers toward biotechnology products and GMF.
The present research study was planned with following objectives:
- To find out the awareness level for GMF
- To discover the relationship between consumer awareness and approach toward GMF.
- To inspect the association between consumer attitudes and intentions to buy GMF.
1.5 Limitations of the study
The study was limited to a review of literature pertaining to GMF and biotechnology. The results of this study are representative of a small group, Due to time and cost constraints, the study was confined to only in London, UK. The research was done in London area and, therefore, the results of the study cannot be generalized to in UK. The study designed to examine the awareness and attitudes of a specific group of consumers toward food biotechnology. Public mind-set toward GMF is complex and varies according to demographics within a country or outside the country (Jerling et al, 2003). It's an assumption of the researchers that the target population has some awareness about the GMF. It is observed that Method used and small sample size, put restrictions on the confidence level regarding validity and reliability of the data collected. The design and content of the questionnaire may manipulate results. Public view research has shown that differences in terminology can source, different approach by maximum 20 percent (Hoban, 2004). The questionnaire in this study assessed public opinions by drawing their attention to a specific focus area, namely food biotechnology and GMF.
1.6 Detail of the Chapters
This study is done in 5 parts. Details are given below.
- Chapter-1: Introduction of the study
- Chapter-2 History of the study and Literature review. In this chapter history is give about the biotechnology, and discusses societal issues influencing biotechnology risk/ benefit perception. The chapter aims at providing the reader with an understanding of biotechnological applications and consumer attitudes toward GMF. Literature review gives an over view of the GMF theory and factors affecting the consumption or purchase of the GMF. This can help marketers in making of the different strategies for GMF.
- Chapter-3: Research methodology. This chapter gives an insight of the research methods used in the study. To find out the result of the objective, questionnaire was used. Questions and statements were designed to uncover information regarding consumer awareness, attitudes and purchase intentions for GMF.
- Chapter-4 Data analysis and Interpretation. In this chapter analysis of the data is done, which are collected through questionnaire. Statistical analysis and graphical presentation gives further idea about the consumer awareness for GMF.
- Chapter-5 Conclusion and Recommendations. This chapter provides a conclusion of the research. A theoretical representation of factors influencing consumer purchase behavior is also discussed. Practical implications and recommendations for future research are also provided.
Brief background of the GMF and its influencing factor's impact on purchasing behavior London is discussed in this chapter. Research methodology, research, problem of the study, the goals and objectives of the study, rationale of the study, limitations and overview of the study is also discussed. The next chapter will review the literature in more detail and cover the theme of the important aspects pertaining to this study.
Chapter 2: History of Study and Literature Review
2.1History of the study
2.1.1 The Nature of Biotechnology
Biotechnology incorporates distinctive methods of applying biological systems or living organisms to generate products or processes for commercial use. The UK Biotechnology Strategy defines biotechnology as a ‘set of technologies and techniques used for the genetic alteration of organisms, so as to produce new intellectual property, tools, commodities, products and services' (Department of Science and Technology, 2001.) Biotechnology is a discipline based on platforms such as genomics (the study of genomes and genes) and proteomics (the study of proteins) (Brown, 1995). These molecular approaches facilitate scientists to transmit genetic material between plants, animals and micro-organisms and in so doing, plan specific functionalities and traits. Biotechnology has developed through three major phases. The first generation involves the use of natural organisms in production methods such as fermentation and plant/animal breeding to produce food and beverages. This is associated with the traditional production of yeast, beer, wine, dairy products and food processing enzymes. Included in the first generation is the use of non - genetically modified organisms in new applications such as drug discovery, vaccine design, waste remediation and bio-fuels (Department of Science and Technology, 2001). Second generation biotechnology refers to organisms that have been selected or bred for specific traits. These organisms are generated by selective means using cross-breeding or tissue culture methods. Major developments in this phase include the exploitation of micro-organisms to produce metabolites such as enzymes, vitamins and antibiotics (Department of Science and Technology, 2001). Third generation or modern-day biotechnology uses recombinant DNA technology to modify the genetic.
2.1.2 Recombinant DNA technology
Third generation biotechnology exploits genetic engineering to consciously and distinctively change the composition of an organism's genome. Recombinant DNA techniques may be used to insert gene(s) in an organism to balance or add new biological function(s). Genes may also be isolated from an organism, thereby exploit particular characteristics at the cellular or gross morphological echelons.
Genetic engineering methodology generally involves the following steps:
Firstly, a technique known as the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is used to attain workable quantity of a DNA.
Secondly, the DNA is introduced into a circular piece of DNA known as a plasmid. Plasmids are specialized ‘vehicles' that scientists use to stabilize foreign genes as well as regulate their task.
Thirdly, the plasmid is introduced into specific cells using a method known as transfixion. Once in the cell, the estrogenic DNA begins to function and is passed on to future generations by a process of replication and cell division. The end result is the creation of a genetically modified organism that contains genetic material from either an allied or non - allied species.
Genetic engineering has become commercially valuable and an example of this is the production of genetically engineered seeds. Scientists have modified the genetic makeup of crop seeds by slot in genes from other organisms.
This process has resulted in crops that have better growth yields as well as resistance to pesticides and disease makeup of organisms. During this progression, foreign DNA is inserted into cells of an organism to enable it to synthesis proteins that it would normally not produce. Industrial applications have been realized in the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries. Of particular note, proteins such as insulin have been manufactured to treat human disease and crops have been genetically modified to produce improved quality food (Department of Science and Technology, 2001).
2.1.3 The importance of biotechnology
Biotechnology prevails from centuries to produce food and beverages such as bread, beer, wine and dairy products. A number of key milestones in the 20th century commenced the rapid advancement of modern biotechnology. The revelation of the structure of DNA by Watson and Crick and decryption of the information determined within genes harbingered breakthroughs in our understanding of molecular genetics. Numerous experiments in genetic engineering followed. This was highlighted by the production of bacterial-derived insulin in 1982, the first approved genetically engineered drug. Stem cell research during the 1990's attained a significant milestone with the cloning of Dolly, the sheep in 1997. In 2000, the Human Genome Project unrestricted the first absolute sketch of the human genome sequence, which marked a novel era of post-genomic research. Over the past sixty years, abundant technologies were developed, which brought novel and significant applications in biotechnology (Van Heerden, 2001). Biotechnology industry has prospective to impact positively on the social and economic growth of a developed country like UK. Key advantage of biotechnology is that it uses organic molecules to offer accurate solutions to explicit problems. Applications extend into major economic sectors such as food production, health, agriculture and environmental management.
Additionally, nutritious crops can offer more plentiful and steady food supply by increasing their resistance to diseases and pesticides. Biotechnology can be used to take care of diseases such as HIV/AIDS through the development of swift diagnostics and vaccines. Environmental management programmes can also employ molecular-based platforms to improve sustainability through bioremediation or waste utilization processes (Brown, 1995; Madden, 1995; Robinson, 2002). The biotechnology industry has flourished and progressed rapidly over the last two decades. In 2005, an Ernst & Young global biotechnology report was suggestive that companies in the United States and Europe raised more than US $50 billion in revenue (Ernst & Young, 2005). The application of genetic engineering in UK will contribute to persistent growth and development. Furthermore, the technology will likely lead to job creation, skills transfer, improved commercialization, increased partnering and superior economical capacity. In an effort to accomplish these benefits, the UK government, in partnership with the public and private sectors, premeditated a biotechnology strategy to extract value from the recent advances in genetics and genomic sciences (Department of Science and Technology, 2001).
2.1.4 Biotechnology and Society
Over the past thirty years, the fright of science has waved throughout societies. The public has full-grown suspicious against the redundant side effects of novel and composite technologies. As a result, the progression of biotechnology has become entwined in debates masked in economic, political and religious reflections. Subsequently, societies have brought biotechnology under larger examination and scrutiny. This has led to abundant scientific investigations to validate risk/benefit claims as well as to identify key public worries. Essentially, risk research has revealed that biotechnology must congregate social acceptance before products such as GMF can be produced (Breithaupt, Gannon and Hadley, 2004; Torgersen, 2004).
2.1.5 An Overview of Food biotechnology
Biotechnology has been broadly defined as “the application of biological organisms, systems, or processes to the manufacturing and service industries.” (Madden, 1995). For decades, plant and animal breeders have used crossbreeding techniques to commence new and commercially valuable traits into progeny. Many plant variants have been produced, most of which harbor features for superior disease, herbicide or environmental lenience. Obtaining enviable gene combinations using conventional methods is meticulous and protracted. The application of modern-day biotechnology has revolutionized the genetic manipulation of living organisms. In contrast to crossbreeding, current gene alteration techniques facilitate the direct transfer of specific genes between organisms. As a result, accurate changes are made to the genetic material. This increases the miscellany of characteristics that can be altered and fastens the process of modifying ‘food-use organisms' (Madden, 1995; Robinson, 2002 ;). Biotechnology offers numeral benefits to the agricultural and food industries:
Increased food productivity: The world's population is escalating at an alarming velocity and is estimated to reach 9 billion by 2050 (Population Reference Bureau, 2005). Biotechnology is therefore tremendously vital in developing innovative approaches to augment food production. Farmers will be able to increase productivity on less land, while reducing the environmental burden of agriculture.
Greater crop yields and environmental protection; Plantations can be genetically engineered to safeguard them from harmful insects, viruses and herbicides. This will help plants to endure, thus increasing food output. Environmental protection will also be endorsed more efficiently due to enhanced pesticide control. (Department of Science and Technology, 2001).
2.1.6 Genes and genetic modification
Genes encode the fundamental elements of proteins and are accountable for all inheritable characteristics. Genes are made up of four different deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) building blocks. The distinctive order in which these blocks are organized concludes the gene sequence and identity of encoded protein. The genetic make-up of an organism can be transformed by using gene modification technology. The procedure involves eliminating or introducing particular genes into an organism. To exemplify the principle of gene complementation, a specific gene isolated from soil micro-organisms has been inserted into maize to produce herbicide-tolerance. Products that are subsequently obtained from the maize are referred to as genetically modified food. (Department of Science and Technology, 2001).
Healthier, fresher and better tasting food: Biotechnology can be used to increase the vitamin and nutritional profiles of food. In addition, the quality of fruits, vegetables and dairy products can be enhanced to maximize freshness and flavor of food products (Robinson, 2002). The prospective benefits of food biotechnology are expected to be profound and far - reaching. Nonetheless, there has been much debate concerning social and economic repercussions. Issues of environmental security have been austerely inspected, resulting in the implementation of stringent legislation to shield the interests of the public. The Food and Drug Administration in the United States, World Health Organization and European Union agree that food produced by biotechnology is safe for human consumption (Robinson, 2002; World Health Organisation,). In London, UK, the National Department of Agriculture approved the first field trials of genetically modified organisms in 1992. This was primarily for use in agriculture, forestry and food production systems. At present, insect - resistant maize and cotton have been authorized for commercial planting in the country (Mayet, 2000). Although a general consensus on safety has been reached by governing bodies worldwide, the market for GMF will be dependent on consumer's mind-set.
2.2.1 Food Biotechnology and Consumer Acceptance
The concern of public acceptance of food biotechnology and its applications will need to be addressed if London, UK plans on developing a sustainable biotechnology industry (Department of Science and technology, 2001). Consumer acceptance of food biotechnology is likely to be influenced by risk/benefit perceptions (Frewer, Howard and Shepherd, 1995; Yeung and Morris, 2001). This suggests that public stance will determine the success or failure of products reaching the marketplace. The public's acuity of risk and benefit is built around obscure psychological constructs. It was primarily proposed in the late 1960's that consumer behaviour was shaped by subjective impressions of risk and not by objectivity. Apparent risk was further defined as a function of subjective uncertainty and a consequence of not pleasing the goals of the purchase decision (Yeung and Morris, 2001). According to Peter and Ryan (1976), professed risk is the multiplicative blend of two components, namely the prospect of negative consequences stirring and importance of negative consequences. The psychometric model projected by Fischoff and colleagues (1978) projected that risk acuity is driven by an array of emotional aspects. These included trepidation or ‘gut feelings', professed sense of control and levels of awareness, ignorance and conviction. To gauge risk, a model developed by Dowling and Staelin (1994) incorporated a number of elements. One component, known as handled or product-specific risk, accredited antecedents of risk relating to levels of product attributes, probability of failure, the individual's purchase goal and conditions such as purchase conduit. Another component was the acceptable risk level, defined as the risk connected with a consumer's need to seek more information about a specific product. Risk reduction action, described as a person's intention to engage in ‘search behaviour', was also included in the model (Dowling and Staelin, 1994). It is argued that the understanding of risk perception was significantly improved with multi- dimensional analyses. These studies subdivided overall risk into different types of potential loss, namely physical, performance, financial, time, social and psychological (Mitchell, 1999; Mitra, Reiss and Capella, 1999; Tse, 1999; Yeung and Morris, 2001).
As with risk perception, public acceptance of biotechnology in food production may be largely determined on perceptions of benefits. Gaskell and colleagues (2004) showed that for a large number of consumers, the perceived benefits of genetically modified organisms played a more decisive role than the perceived risks. Thus, acceptance of GMF may be higher in countries where benefits for consumers are apparent. In essence, the benefits of biotechnology must be perceived as both substantial and equitable to obtain broad support (Torgersen, 2004). Taken together, risk and benefit perception is a social phenomenon which is influenced by a number of interrelated factors. Research suggests that acceptance or rejection of food biotechnology is embedded in a context that describes how new technologies are handled by societies (Torgersen, 2004).
Strategic issues facing high-tech ventures are becoming increasingly complex due to the dynamic and evolving nature of market interests. The application of genetic engineering in food production has drawn on arguments both for and against the use of biotechnology. According to Dr. Mae-Wan Ho (1998), a distinguished British scientist, “Genetic engineering biotechnology is an unprecedented alliance between bad science and big business which will spell the end of humanity as we know it and of the world at large.” Contrasting views have emphasized the importance of biotechnology with regard to food safety, food quality and environmental conservation (Madden, 1995). Despite the growing support, enhancing the public's understanding of genetic engineering has become an area of concern for food industries. A better understanding is believed to be an important factor in influencing consumer attitudes favourably. Acceptance of food biotechnology is driven by a number of interrelated factors, dependent largely on prevailing attitudes (Bredahl, 2000; Wansink and Kim, 2001a). Two interdependent pathways have been identified in formulating attitudes (Figure 1): firstly, consumers that are motivated to understand GMF will form attitudes through a central route. These attitudes are determined by perceptions of risks and benefits. Secondly, people that lack the motivation and cognitive ability to understand GMF will process any related messages peripherally. Under peripheral conditions, attention is placed on public opinions, emotions generated from advertising and source of information (DiPiero, 2001).
2.2.2 Purchase Behavior
The use of GMF in the consumer food supply chain has raised a number of issues regarding purchase behavior. In London, UK, the intention(s) of the general public to purchase GMF is poorly understood. According to the model proposed by Bredahl (1998), attitude toward GMF is an important determinant of purchase intention. Subsequent research has highlighted the importance of attitudes in motivating consumer behavior. In particular, an inverse relationship has been demonstrated between risk perception and purchase likelihood (Yeung and Morris, 2001). In the advent of perceived risk, consumers can adopt one of four purchase strategies:
- Stop permanently or temporarily
- Minimize exposure to the perceived risk by reducing the purchase
- Shifting from one product to another where there is less perceived risk or greater tolerance
- Where the risk is tolerable, continue to purchase In broader marketing terms, there is therefore a need to measure consumer attitudes to accommodate for changes in purchase behavior.
Empirical evidence indicates that the greater the risk perception, the more likely it is for consumers to reduce its impact. In dealing with risk, purchasing decisions are modified by adopting one of the four above- mentioned strategies. In the case of unresolved risk, consumers can avert the offending product by resorting to quality-assured goods or by postponing the purchase until it is deemed safe (Yeung and Morris, 2001). The means by which consumers manage perceived risks will clearly influence strategies utilized by food industries. Thus, it is important for businesses engaged in food biotechnology to integrate risk management strategies within the marketing mix.
2.2.3 Factors influencing perceived risks and benefits
Research indicates that public acceptance of food biotechnology is influenced by a number of variables: Public awareness, understanding and the media
Increased public understanding will not necessarily facilitate acceptance of biotechnology. However, within a given social context, a greater awareness and/or understanding is likely to influence attitudes and determine public reactions. Furthermore, the provision of information and development of effective communication strategies may promote acceptance of biotechnology (Frewer, Howard and Shepherd, 1995). This is also important for eliminating common biotechnology myths held by consumers.
The media have been implicated in fuelling perceptions of food biotechnology. Generally, consumers in the United States have shown the greatest support, followed by people in developing countries. European countries exhibit volatile public perceptions and have shown moderate to large declines in support (Hoban, 2004). It is possible that negative media coverage elicits worry and concern among sectors of the European public (Frewer, Miles and Marsh, 2002). It could also be the result of consumers not being sufficiently informed of the use of biotechnology in food products (Subrahmanyan and Cheng, 2000). Wansink and Kim (2001a) proposed that the high level of confidence in the Food and Drug Administration has lessened the need of Unites States consumers to second guess their food regulatory system.
2.2.4 Common Myths about Food Biotechnology
- There are no GMF products currently on the market
- GMF are not safe for consumption
- GMF taste different than foods made from conventional crops
- Organic or conventional crops are more nutritious or safer than GMF
- GMF are not regulated or tested
- Food obtained from genetically modified livestock are not as safe as food derived from conventional livestock
- Genetically modified crops are harmful to human health and the environment
- Genetically modified crops increase food allergies
- Genetically modified crops will cause “super weeds” to develop
- GMF cannot aid in combating starvation
- The only people who benefit from GMF are the companies who develop and sell the products. There are no real benefits to consumers.
2.2.5 Ethics and new age beliefs
There has been a lot of discussion concerning biotechnology and moral reasoning. The issue of interference with nature' has emerged as a major factor influencing risk perception (Sjoberg, 2004). Two other factors play an important role in shaping consumer acceptance. Firstly, when compared to medical applications, ethical concern appears to be greater for the manipulation of food sources. Secondly, genetic engineering is generally more acceptable when applied to plants than to animals. It was suggested that these findings were due either to differences in perceived risk/benefit trade offs or due to the perceived number of individuals affected by the various biotechnology applications (Frewer, Howard and Shepherd, 1995; Sjoberg, 2004). A study conducted by Sjoberg (2004) found an association between new age beliefs and risk perception of genetic engineering. Four dimensions were measured and were found to account for a small percentage of personal and general risk. The dimensions included new age beliefs about a spiritual dimension of existence, beliefs in the physical reality of the soul, denial of the relevance of analytical thinking and belief in paranormal phenomena.
2.2.6 Demographic data
Perceived risk and acceptance of food biotechnology has been correlated with demographic variables. Woman and older people usually rate risks as both more dangerous and likely than do men and younger people. In addition, studies have found a relationship between perceived risk and socioeconomic status, with poor people rating risks more highly than rich people. According to cultural theory, world-views such as hierarchy, individualism, fatalism and egalitarianism are weakly related to perceived risk (Sjoberg, 2004).
2.2.7 Anxiety and trust
Research has shown that dread, which is related to the severity and consequences of possible accidents, is a factor driving risk perception. Trust in governments and regulatory bodies of biotechnology have also been mentioned as an important variable (Sjoberg, 2004).
2.2.8Consumer Perceptions of Genetically Modified Food(William and Helen; 2003)
Biotechnology in agricultural persist to be a dominant, but controversial technology. Whereas farmers continue to accept genetically modified (GM) crops, it is but obvious that acceptance of the GMF is depending on the view of the majority pubic. There are many studies regarding the opinion of the food biotechnology. But then also there is no clear picture come out of those results. It is difficult to come out on a particular conclusion about the consumer behavior for GMF. It is difficult to compare all the results because researchers have done these studies in different countries, with different samples and with different methodologies. The presented literature on public perceptions of biotechnology signifies more of a compilation of individual studies than an incorporated knowledge.
This study is intended to some extent address the insufficiency of the accessible literature on consumer perceptions of biotechnology.
Findings of the study
Risks and benefits of GMF, different people perceived it differently. But how consumers perceived it, is necessary to understand for marketers. The result of the study showed the nature of American attitudes for biotechnology and GMF.
Majority of the Americans know a little about biotechnology, and some of the persons have talked about it in detail. But the awareness of GMF and biotechnology is too less. Most of the people in America don't know that GMFs are available in the supermarket. And some of the people don't know that, they are eating GM ingredients food. GMF will improve the life of the Americans is difficult to explain.
2.9 CONSUMER WILLINGNESS-TO-PAY FOR GM FOOD PRODUCTS IN ITALY (Stefano& Daniele; 2000)
Acceptance of biotechnology is largely debated topic. (e.g. Thompson,1996,1998) Generally it is believed that European consumers don't have positive attitude for biotechnology and GMF. Comparison of international consumer acceptance of GMF have showed major difference between European and North American, (Hoban, 1997) where European countries have shown higher
The topic of consumer acceptance of biotechnology has been largely debated (see for example Thompson, 1996, 1998). It is commonly believed that European consumers have a negative attitude towards biotechnology; and, indeed, international comparisons of consumer acceptance have shown significant differences between European and North American (Hoban, 1997) countries, with a higher opposition with in Europe.
In the evaluation process of consumer acceptance, information plays critical role. In fact it plays an important role because GMF is an innovative product. Most of the survey shows that consumer awareness and understanding of biotechnology are very less (Hoban, 1997).
Hence Educational programs and information is a valuable strategy for public and private sector players. The objective of this research paper is to give additional insights for consumer survey conducted in Italy to evaluate the level of awareness and knowledge, and attitudes towards GM food products; determinants of consumer response were analyzed through contingent valuation methods.
Findings of the study
The result of this study maintains the ideology that main reason of lower accepts of GMF is lack of awareness. Those persons have higher knowledge about Genetical engineering and biotechnology, they would like to buy and use GMF. For that they are ready to pay high prices also. Because they know they are getting high quality products.
Now a day's people have practical approach rather than ethical. This may be particularly true at whatever time the use of biotechnology diminish health risks, such as those caused by the use of pesticides.
Certification from the government bodies may be a probable solution for the acceptance of GMF. Many respondent wants guarantee of no risk for human health. If it will given by the government and producers consumption will increase. But consumption is not depending on guarantee only; price also plays a major role in to acceptance. People are willing to pay high up to some extent for high nutritional and lower use of pesticides products.
These conclusions should be utilized with care, particularly if assessment with other studies is made. Actuality, the main limitations of this study, and of other similar studies, is the small sample sizes and the very limited geographical coverage, which make comparisons of result quite difficult.
The potential of biotechnology has prompted the UK government to introduce a comprehensive strategy for the 21 century. The strategy aims at consolidating disparate units from industry and academia under one umbrella, such that a sustainable biotechnology industry can be developed. However, a major impediment to the strategy's success is consumer attitudes. Consumers are becoming more interested in the food they eat and as a result, their perceptions may destroy or build public confidence in biotechnology and related food products. The study's methodology, as described in chapter 3, employed a descriptive approach and accessibility sample to examine the factors influencing consumer attitudes and purchase intentions toward GMF.
Chapter 3: Research Methodology
Chapter three portrays general research methods and the approach utilized in this study. A research method or design provides a working skeleton for understanding problems and answering definite research questions. It provides a blueprint for the attainment of information, investigation and interpretation of data. Business research is classified into three major types of designs: exploratory, causal and descriptive. The type of design may be based on the techniques used, research rationale or nature of the problem (Zikmund, 2003). In this study, a survey questionnaire was used in an explanatory approach to obtain information about consumer awareness, attitudes and purchase objectives toward food biotechnology and GMF.
3.2. Explanatory Research
Exploratory research is conducted to elucidate the personality of ambiguous problems. Its purpose is defined by a number of interconnected rudiments: the diagnoses of problem attributes; the assessment of ideas; notion testing, which involves the screening of alternatives or finding the finest solution; the development of novel ideas and hypotheses generation. Exploratory research as a result helps to determine the best research design and data collection system for a particular research question. The results of exploratory research are not typically useful for decision-making, but may offer practical insight into a given situation (Zikmund, 2003).
Four general categories of exploratory research methods may be used. Firstly, an experience survey is a technique that assesses individuals who are well-informed about a particular research problem. Surveys may be classified in accordance to the method of communiqué, the degree of structure, and the time frame in which data is collected. They often take the form of unceremonious discussions, interviews or questionnaires and aim to obtain information such as characteristics, opinions, attitudes or previous experiences. The rationale of experience surveys is to help devise problems and to clarify concepts. It is also a widespread approach used to draw inferences about a particular population from the responses of the sample.
Secondly, secondary data analysis may be used to calculate issues found in the early stages of a research project. One objective includes fact finding which intends at collecting eloquent information to sustain decision-making. Another objective, model building, attempts to indicate relationships based on secondary data. Secondary data consists of information accumulated from sources other than the project at hand. These include propriety data, books and periodicals, government sources, media sources and commercial sources (Zikmund, 2003).
Thirdly, a case study is a method that inspects situations that are similar to the researcher's problem environment. Depending on the situation, there are numeral different case projects to choose from. Some of these include critical instance, program effects, and prospective, cumulative, narrative and embedded studies. Cases endow with a systematic way of collecting data, analyzing information and reporting results. They have the advantage of being highly purposeful which may lead to the identification of patterns or relationships among variables (Saunders et al, 2007)
Lastly, a pilot study is a small-scale technique that relies on sampling to generate primary data. Pilot projects consist of focus group interviews, projective techniques and depth interviews. All of these methods may be used as precursors to full-scale studies and are conducted with smaller sample sizes. Pilot studies are performed to refine research methodology, test experimental procedures, to check if sampling techniques are kosher or to clarify other experimental parameters. Furthermore, pilot projects are useful for disclosing errors such as sampling bias and order effects. Poorly planned studies may generate unexpected quantities of data which are either useless or incomprehensible (Zikmund, 2003).
Two major benefits of exploratory research include the generation of insights and clarification of business problems for future hypotheses testing. Exploratory research has limitations that may lead to incorrect decisions. Most techniques provide qualitative information, and is therefore subject to judgmental or interpreter bias. Precise quantitative measurements are rarely provided and the ability to generalise results is often limited (Leedy and Ormrod, 2005; Zikmund, 2003).
3.3. Casual Research
The purpose of causal research is to identify cause-and-effect relationships among variables. In a typical design, a researcher may consider many possible factors or variables that influence a particular condition. An attempt is then made to control all variables, except those whose effects are the focus of investigation. Variables that influence others (the cause) and that are directly manipulated by the researcher are known as independent variables. Variables that are influenced by others (the effect) are called dependent variables (Zikmund, 2003). The establishment of causal order or temporal sequence relating to many variables may be extremely difficult in complex environments. Moreover, confounding variables exacerbate this issue by making it difficult to pinpoint the cause(s) of any given phenomena. Internal validity or accurate conclusions about cause-and-effect relationships may therefore be limited. To control for this, researchers use a number of different strategies. Common approaches include keeping some variables constant, including a control group, assessment of equivalence with one or more pre-tests and statistical control (Leedy and Ormrod, 2005).
4. Descriptive Research
Descriptive research is designed to describe the characteristics of a population or phenomenon. Unlike exploratory research, it is based on some previous understanding of the research problem. Descriptive research incorporates different strategies, namely observational studies, correlation research, developmental designs and survey research (Leedy and Ormrod, 2005). Observational studies deal with the objective assessment of a particular aspect of behavior. Behavioral dimensions are often rated according to accuracy, intensity and maturity. To maintain objectivity, a number of guidelines have been established:
- Behavior should be precisely defined so that it is easily identifiable
- Observation periods should be divided into many segments so that behavioral frequency can be determined
- Behavior should be rated in terms of specific dimensions using a rating scale
- Behavior should be rated independently by two or three trained individuals
Correlation studies gather data about two or more variables for particular units of study. The extent to which differences in one variable are related to differences in another are examined. A correlation exists when differences in the variable ‘movements' are predictable. However, findings such as these do not indicate causation. Nevertheless, researchers may use techniques such as structural equation modeling to examine dynamics of cause-and-effect relationships within correlations. To study how particular group characteristics change over time, researchers may use developmental designs. In a cross-sectional study, data is sampled from different groups at a single time, whereas in a longitudinal study, data is collected from a single group at various time periods. In the latter approach, participants may be lost along the way. An additional disadvantage of a longitudinal design is that measurements are likely to improve with practice, even when the characteristic in question has not changed. Cross-sectional studies pose two disadvantages. Firstly, the different groups may have been exposed to different environmental conditions, which may lead to skewed decision-making.
Secondly, correlations between variables from different groups cannot be computed. A survey is a research technique that involves gathering data from a sample of individuals by asking them questions. The primary goal is to draw inferences about a population based on responses from the sample. Surveys provide a number of advantages. They are quick, inexpensive, efficient and an accurate means of gathering data. The quality of survey-based research is dependent on two important considerations. Surveys capture information at a single point in time. Therefore, conclusions drawn about population variables over a longer period of time must be extrapolated and may be misleading. An additional consideration is that surveys may be prone to two major sources of error, namely random sampling error and systematic error (Leedy and Ormrod, 2005; Zikmund, 2003). Random sampling error represents statistical fluctuations that occur by chance during sample selection. Statistical problems are generally unavoidable but may be improved by increasing the sample size.
Systematic error or non-sampling error results from imperfections in research design or mistakes during project execution. These errors produce sample bias, a tendency for sample results to deviate from true population values. Errors may be classified under two categories- respondent error and administrative error. Respondent error arises when individuals fail to participate in a survey. Respondents that answer questions in a certain direction produce a particular error known as response bias. Examples of this include acquiescence bias, extremity bias, interviewer bias, auspice bias and social desirability bias (Patton, 2001).
Administrative error is caused by improper administration or execution of a research task. This is categorized into four types: data-processing error; sample selection error; interviewer error and interviewer cheating. The end result of both types of error is a distortion of measurements and misrepresentation of the truth (Zikmund, 2003).
Communication methods in survey research: Two widespread techniques may be used to communicate with respondents and collect data in survey research. Personal interviews can either be face-to-face or telephonic. Face-to-face interviews permit a large degree of cooperation from participants, thus resulting in higher response rates. In addition, it allows the opportunity for feedback, probing of complex answers and use of visual aids. However, the lack of respondent anonymity and involved time and expense may be prohibitive. Telephone interviews, although less time consuming and less expensive, usually produces a lower response rate. A second form of communication is the self-administered questionnaire, which is completed by the respondent rather than by the interviewer. Common disadvantages and advantages of questionnaires are summarized in the following table.
Table:1 Advantages and disadvantages of questionnaire
Economic form of communication
Response rate may be problematic
Provides cost and time benefits
Not suitable for comprehensive problems
Respondent anonymity maintained
No opportunity for feedback
Can be used for large groups of people
Possibility of misunderstanding
Source: Adapted from Zikmund (2003)
Researchers have to address two major criteria when designing questionnaires. Firstly, a questionnaire must be relevant in that no unnecessary information is collected. Secondly, a questionnaire must be accurate in that the information is reliable and valid. Reliability refers to the degree to which measures are free from error and yield consistent results. Validity is the ability of a questionnaire to measure what it is intended to measure. To achieve these goals, the following questions need to be answered (Zikmund, 2003):
- What questions should be asked?
- How should each question be phrased?
- In what sequence should the questions be arranged?
- What layout will be selected for the questionnaire?
- How should the questionnaire be pre-tested?
3.5. Research Design
Descriptive research using a survey design was implemented in this study to address specific objectives and hypotheses. A sample of 50 people was obtained from a working population the sampling frame was representative of consumers belonging to similar educational backgrounds. A self-designed questionnaire was prepared to determine the participant's awareness, general approach and purchase intentions toward GMF.
3.6. Questionnaire Layout
High-quality survey results are dependent on superior questionnaire design. Questions should be easy to follow, understandable and avoid ambiguity. Moreover, researchers should shun double-barreled items and questions that delude respondents (Zikmund, 2003). Questionnaire consists of close-ended questions, which aimed to extract biographical information from the respondents. Close-ended questions are also known as fixed alternatives and provide responses from which a specific choice has to be made (Zikmund, 2003). This section focused on details relating to gender, age group, ethnic group and highest academic qualification attained. Questions to determine the respondent's awareness of biotech GMF. If respondents were aware of ‘biotechnology' and ‘GMF', they were asked to complete the questionnaire.
Non-probability samples include elements from the population was selected in a no statistical manner. Therefore, convenience sampling was used whereby a non-statistical approach is used primarily because it is easy to collect data. This approach is practiced because almost everybody is a grocery customer, and samples are easier to setup, cheaper in financial terms, and are adequate in their representativeness within the scope of the defined research (Schmidt and Hollensen, 2006). Sample size is defined as the number of elements to be included in a study. In this case the sample size was 50 respondents as they are consider providing sufficient input to ascertain findings.
3.8. Data collection
A questionnaire was used to collect data from the sample group. In the present research, primary data was collected by using questionnaires as tool. Questionnaires were time efficient for customers and researcher, but quantity of data collected was limited and researcher were not get time for any other question to respondent. Questionnaire includes different types of direct questions, which will give information about customer's personal opinion about food biotechnological products. This research gathered the information about influence of food biotechnology on purchase behavior of customers from the different retail stores as well as health stores, request to customers to fill the questionnaire. After collecting questionnaires from customers it was used for find the conclusion of research (Suanders et al 2007).
The author provided the questionnaire personally to 50 customers. The sample is mostly a purposive sampling. On the other hand, to decrease a probable non-coverage bias, a sampling frame covering age, gender and education level will be used. First respondent was allowed completing the questionnaire, after that explain about food biotechnological products in details within 5 minutes.
3.9. Data analysis
It gives the idea about the findings of the study, with numerical and graphical presentation of the data and interpretation of the presentation. All the interpreted data taken from the questionnaires designed for the customers of GMF. The data was analyzed with the help of statistics. The hypothesis was tested with the help of proper statistical methods. The validity and reliability are depended on the accuracy of the respondent. Accuracy determined by the nature of the questions. If questions are not relevant then there is no use of that question. To reduce this problem target population in this study composed well-educated consumers that were likely to be aware of GMF, and their level of awareness was assessed in the questionnaire. And those who were not aware about the GMF or biotechnology need not to complete the forms, and they are not counted in the sample size.
3.10. Ethical Considerations
In planning and conducting research, it is necessary to follow the code of conduct and ethical consideration. The experimenters have to fulfil several obligations in order to meet the ethical standards set forth by the APA. First, the research project is planned to chance for misleading results is minimized. Second, the project is planned to meets ethical acceptability. Any doubts the researcher may have regarding questionable ethical procedures or methods must be resolved through peer review or through consultation with appropriate parties such as the IRB. Third, steps are taken to protect and ensure the dignity and welfare of all participants, as well as those who may be affected by the results of the research project (Suanders et al 2007).
3.11. Project Limitations
This research proposal is conduct for academic purpose; length of research period is 6 months. Due to this time limit and financial constraint only 50 respondents was covered who have answered some biotechnology knowledge to fill questionnaire to collect the response. Sometimes the respondents were not ready to fill up the questionnaire and there is chance to get some bias answer due to various reasons. (Mulenga, 2009b).
In an ideal situation, the observed score should correspond perfectly with the true score. However, because research does not occur in a perfect situation, measurement error is not usually zero. The real issue was not whether there was error, rather the issue was what potential was there for error, and what had the researcher done to reduce error in the study, and, therefore, to increase the validity and reliability of the findings. (Ritchie and Lewis, 2003).
When conducting a research study, the results might appear to be accurate, but may contain errors. Therefore, it was important that, while conducting research, precautions should be taken to minimize the possibilities of errors. Numbers were used to code the data in order to eliminate errors while recording data into the computer. The questionnaire was designed to be brief and easy so that the questions were easy to understand to avoid errors. The interviewers were well briefed about the aim of the study and it was make sure that they were understood the questionnaire and was able to explain any questions for clarity (Leedy and Ormrod, 2001).
Reliability of a measure indicates the extent to which it was without bias (error free) and so ensures consistent measurement across time and across the various items in the instrument. In other words, reliability of a measure was an indication of the stability and consistency with which the instrument measures the concept and helps to assess the goodness of a measure. Reliability was concerned with the consistency, accuracy, and predictability of the research findings. However, if a measure was not reliable, it cannot be valid, and if it is reliable, then it may or may not be valid. Reliability is a necessary but not sufficient condition for validity. Consequently, the validity of a measure was of main concern since it deals with both systematic and random errors (Denzin and Lincoln, 2003).
In order to increase the reliability of the findings, the sample was fairly large up to 50 respondents participating. In order to standardize the conditions under which the questionnaire was being conducted, the author was well trained and briefed on the topic. (Saunders et al, 2007).
To prevent inconsistency in coding, all questionnaires were pre-coded. It was very important to select a sample that would not bias the results of the study and that was representative of the population with respect to the characteristics or variables of interest (Mulenga, 2009).
This study utilized a descriptive approach to explore the awareness, attitudes and purchase intentions of a small group of London, UK consumers toward food biotechnology. These aspects were examined by administering a short survey questionnaire to 50 respondents, which were limited in to the defined criteria and close ended questions.
Chapter4 Results and Discussion
In marketing consumer behavior is the most interesting subject of the marketers. It helps them in the process of understanding to consumers their tests and their selection process. It helps in to deciding the influencing factors of the customers by their environment, reference groups, family and to some extent sales persons also. (Kotler, 1999)
There is relationship between dressing and the concept of individual expression which is complex. It may be perceived in people's routine life through periodic use of the same brands, ingredients of the products, etc. Thus, the products' properties, like design, comfort, individuality, have a decisive role on buying behavior, which may vary depending on a set of factors, mainly on sex, age, culture, lifestyle, etc (Fischer and Arnold, 1994).
A consumer's buying behavior is influenced by cultural, social, personal and psychological factors. Most of these factors are uncontrollable and beyond the hands of marketers but they have to be considered while trying to understand the complex behavior of the consumers. In this study, the researcher emphasizes the importance of GMF and its impact on the buyer behavior.
This chapter gives statistical results of the data obtained from the questionnaires. Graphical analyses of the sample's biographical characteristics and awareness of biotechnology are presented in this chapter.
4.2. Demographic Information of the respondents
The questionnaire handover more than 50 respondents but for the present results, only considered who have answered ‘yes' for first question and those who haven't heard about the Biotechnology or not aware were not includes for analysis. The finding of the survey was based on the answered given by 50 respondents.
Fig 1 shows the gender ratio of the respondents covered for the present study. It shows that out of 50 respondents, 55% were males and 45% were females. Male respondents higher compared to female one.
Fig 2 shows the Age group of the respondents covered for the present study majority i.e. 45% respondent's were from the age group of 20-35 years, 29% were form 36-50 years and only 15% from <20 years and 11% from the > 50%.
Fig. 3 shows the Highest educational qualification of the respondents, 49% were having the degree of bachelor and 38% were having masters or more degree. So we can say that our respondents were educated enough to understand the new technology. Only 13% were having high school degree.
Fig 4 Shows the employment status of respondents. It was observed that 44% respondents were employed part time, 23% respondents were employed fulltime and 33% respondents were unemployed.
Fig. 5 shows the income group of the respondents, 34% respondents were having income of 10-20K, 33% were having 0-10K. 19% were having 20-30K and only 14% have above 30K income.
4.3. Statistical presentations are as follows.
Awareness about the GMF is Fig 6 Shows awareness among the respondents about GMF. From the graph it is evident that 69% of samples were aware about the GMF. But 31% persons were not aware about it. So we can say that awareness of the GMF is good but not enough to tab the market. If respondent was aware about the GMF then only he is allowed to complete the questionnaire. Otherwise it is not necessary to complete it.
From the above Fig 7, we can say that the ratio of positive, negative and neutral is very close to each other. But majority persons have positive attitude for GMF. 37% have positive attitude, 31% have negative attitude and 32% have neutral attitude. Even though majority have positive attitude, the distance between all of them is not much high. So when we take more no. of respondent then only we can get the exact idea about the attitude.
The sources of information for respondents are as follow.
Fig 8 represents the source of information about the GMF. From the above graph it is visible that 45% persons knew about GMF by family and friends, followed by 39% through internet and 35% through Magazines, where as 29%, 23% and 20% knew about GMF through Advertisement, Newspaper, and others. So from the marketing point of view viral marketing is effective in GMF marketing. In the strategy making it will also a significant factor and should be consider it.
The way customers identify the genetically modified food shown in the following Fig 9. From the above graph it can be said that 15% persons identify the GMF by asking the shop keeper, 29% were identify products by seeing the mark of regulatory body. And 56% were identified the GMF by labeling. So form the above chart It can be said that labeling can play a major role in the marketing of the GMF. So while making strategy, labeling should be counted as significant factor.
Fig 10 represents data on ever eaten GM by respondents. Above graph shows that only 26% respondents have tasted GMF, 57% have not tasted it and 27% respondents were not sure about it. They did not know it, if they have tasted it. More than 50 respondents had never tasted GM foods.
Fig 11 shows the knowledge of respondents about the availability of GM Food in the market. 38% respondents said that yes GMF is there in super market whereas 23% said that GMF is not available in the market as well as 39% did not know about it.
Fig 12 shows the best statements that describe the genetically modified food with the biotechnology. It was observed that 39% respondents said that “Modifying the genetic makeup of food sources” best describes the GMF and biotechnology. 21% said that “producing food without any genes” is the best describing sentence. 19% says that “Discipline that specializes in production of fruit” is the best describing sentence. 14% told that “Growing crops in green houses” is the best describing sentence. 10% said that “growing plants without water and sunlight” describe best GMF. Only 6% said that that “describing unhealthy food products” describe best GMF. Most of respondent have basic knowledge about the biotechnology and GM Foods.
When questions asked about the perceptions regarding the GM food, the response obtained is presented below.
Fig 13 shows the knowledge of respondents about the nutrition value of GMF. From the above graph it is clear that 40% respondents believed that nutritional values are not high in GMF compare to naturally grown food, where as 31% were believed that nutrition value is high in GMF and 29% respondents were not sure about it.
Fig 14 shows the taste of GMF perceived by respondents. From the graph it is clear that 45% respondents believed that test is not good in GMF compare to natural food, where as 34% believe that test is good and 21% were not sure about the taste. It was observed that only few respondents were tasted GM foods and nearly 50 percent of them didn't like the taste of GMF compared to natural grown food.
Fig 15 reveals the belief of respondents about the resistant of GM crop to insect and drought. From the graph it is visible that 65% respondents believed that resistance form insects are high in GMF whereas 23% were not sure about it and 12% were not agreeing that resistance power is high. So marketers should focus on resistance power so use less pesticide during the crop production and ultimately less residue of pesticide present in the food. and it should be include in the strategy as a important factor.
Fig 16 presents the belief of respondents about the quality of GMF. The Fig shows that, 53% respondents believed that quality of GMF is high compared to 27% respondents were disagree to this and 20% were not sure about it. Again it is also an important factor where respondents have positive attitude for GMF. So it can also be an important factor for producers and marketers.
Fig 17 shows the view of respondents about the utilization of biotechnology is necessary for the production of GMF. From the graph it can be said that 44% respondents believed that the utilization of biotechnology is necessary in production of GMF and 31% were not sure and 25% were disagreeing with statement.
Fig 18 shows views of respondents about the GMF and ethical issues.Regarding the question of ethical or not, respondent's views are not giving much clarity. It is confusing for them to decide the ethical stand. It was observed that 23% were disagreeing and 26% were agreeing to this statement. Majority of respondents i.e. 51% were not sure about it.
Fig 19 shows the religious opinion about the GMF. Graph indicates that, 39% were saying that yes religions never allowed consuming genetically modified food, and 33% saying that it is allowed whereas 28% were not sure about it. Again majority respondents were disagreed with it. Religious views depend on the cultural back ground of the respondents.
Fig 20 shows the perception of respondents as GMF is healthy or unhealthy for human consumption. Graph shows that, 37% respondents were believed that is healthy for the human consumption, so we can say that quality is good. 36% says that is unhealthy. And 27% were not sure about the healthiness of the food.
Fig 21 shows the response of respondents about the effect GMF production on environment. Graph presents that, 44% respondents have replied that it is not harmful to environment and 33% says that it is harmful. 23% respondents have no idea about the effect on environment.
Fig 22 shows that respondents belief about the production of GMF is tempering with nature. Above graph shows that, 41% respondent said that yes, it is the tempering with nature. 34% said that it's not tempering with nature. And 25% have no idea about it. But majority said that it is tempering with the nature.
Fig 23 shows belief about GMF as Natural or artificial. About the artificial or natural people have confusion and they have not much clarity about it. 33% agree and disagree with it. And 34% were not sure about it.
Fig 24 shows the view of respondents as necessity of labeling on GM Foods. From the graph it is clear that 68% said that labeling is necessary and only 13% were not agree with it. 19% respondents were not sure about it.
Fig 25 shows rank given by respondents to preference to Importance of GMF
From the graph it is clear that respondents given first rank to the “Improvement in the food quality”. Second rank was to the “Improvement of the economy” and 3rd to the “The creation of the job opportunity”.
Fig 26 shows the respondents hesitation in eating GMF. It was observed that 43% respondents were ready to eat GMF. Hence it is positive sign for the marketers. It was noticed that 21% were not ready to eat it. And 36% were not sure about it, but through good marketing strategy marketers can convert non eater into eating the GMF.
Fig 27 shows the willingness of customers if the taste of GMF is better than other foods. It was noticed that 57% respondent were ready to eat if the taste will be better. Only 12% were not ready to eat in any case. And 31% were not sure about it.
Fig 28 show the willingness of respondents to eat the GMF if they convinced that the GM food is healthier than naturally grown one. If GMF will be healthy then 71% respondents are ready to eat it. Again it's a positive sign for the marketers. 21% were not sure about it and 8% were not ready to eat in any case.
Fig 29 shows the data of respondents readiness to eat GMF if cheaper that naturally grown food. Ready to eat if cheaper compare to natural food
From the below diagram it can be said that 38% respondent were ready if GMF will be cheaper compare to naturally grown food. 29% were not sure and 33% were not ready to eat it even if it is cheaper compare to naturally grown food.
Fig 30 shows the response of despondence for Ready eat if approved by regulatory bodies. Acceptance of the GMF will be good if regulatory bodies approve it. 54% respondents would like to have it if regulatory bodies accept it. Only 15% were not ready to eat GMF. And 31% were not sure about it.
Fig 31 shows the willingness of respondents to eat GM Food, if they have enough information about the GMF and 64% respondents were agreeing to eat it if enough information is available, only 13% were not ready and 23% were not sure about it. So it will be batter for the marketers to provide enough information to the customers about GMF.
Fig 32 shows the willingness of consumers for eating the GMF if it label properly. From the data, it is clear that 41% will eat GMF if it is specifically labeled. 22% were not ready to eat it. And 37% were not sure about it.
Fig 33 shows the readiness to eat GM plant products. Only 25% were ready to eat genetically modified plant products, and 16% were not ready to eat it. Major % of respondent, 59% were confused about it and were not sure about it.
Fig 34 shows the data of respondents that ready to eat genetically modified animal products. s55% respondents were confused about the genetically modified animal products, so they were not sure. 23% were ready to eat and 22% were not ready to eat those products.
Fig 35 show the opinion about the Genetic Modification Make the Quality of Life Better or Worse for People. It was observed that 25% were not sure about the implications of GMF on life. 21% thinking that it will make better, 13% were believe that it will make somewhat batter, 23% were believe that it will make somewhat worse. 18% were believed that it will make much worse. So there is no clear conclusion coming out of it.
From the above statistical analysis it is coming out that there are certain aspects in which GMF is better compare to naturally grown food. And for those aspects consumers are ready to consume it. But at the same time there are certain confusions prevailed in the mind of the customers and because of that they would like to avoid GMF. Proper information availability, labeling, quality focus products can get the success in this new market. Viral marketing technique is also good for this type of new products. In the next chapter we will discuss the conclusion and recommendations for GMF.
Chapter5 Conclusion and Recommendations
Genetically modified food is not very famous till the date because of certain reasons. The awareness of GMF is not much in general public at large. It is difficult for the marketers to get success in this field immediately. Before selling these products they have to spread awareness about those product and they have to break certain myth which prevails in the market about GMF. The acceptance of GMF is susceptible because of irrational fears and public misunderstanding. Objectors have described for restrictive laws such as the “precautionary principle” to control the roll-out of GMF. This lawful concept necessitates action to evade risk and demands that new inventions should not be used until proven to be absolutely safe. “Any new risks to human health or the environment, beyond the usual uncertainties of conventional plant breeding” (Nolutshungu, 2007). Irrespective of believable scientific proof, more public are connecting to GMF with “Franken foods” and high risk. What factors are responsible for determining public reactions and behaviors? This is an important question for scientists and authorities involved in the development of the biotechnology strategy.
In this study, we try to examine consumer attitudes toward GMF and to obtain Willingness to Pay for GMF. The experimental outcome show that the consumer acceptance toward GM foods is affected by attitudinal factors, such as risk perception, environmental impacts, opinion on GM food labeling, perceived difference between GM and non-GM foods, and the potential benefits of GM foods. along with all, the high risk connected with GMF as perceived by the respondents is found to be the main obstruction to the customer's acceptance of such foods, which strengthen the requirement to teach the general public to be more aware of GMF with more unbiased scientific information. The result point to the importance of GMF labeling, involve the requirement to provide the customer with more information on GMF so that the customer confidence can be recognized. Besides, the price factor is important in determining consuming GMF, suggesting that lower price can be a useful instrument to rouse GMF consumption.
The results of willingness to pay show that the survey respondents are willing to pay a best in order to distinguish between GM and non-GMF. This implies that producers of non-GMF might be benefited from the labeling policy. If consumers are willing to bear the premium for non-GMF, producers do not need to fully absorb the cost of segmenting the market. From the government point of view, labeling of GMF might cause a conflict loss to the society in the long run if the market is not competitive for both GMF and non-GMF products. Consumers would pay a higher price in order to stay away from GMF and the market does not reach to the best possible equilibrium for product prices. The conflict loss in the long term may discourage the government to implement a compulsory labeling policy regarding GMF. Therefore, it is crucial to educate the general public about the characteristics of GMF so that the risk perception associated from consuming such foods can be mitigated.
The study found that the greater part of respondents were either unbiased or willing to purchase GMF. When specific benefits were made known, purchase intentions were positive. Such benefits were in the form of improved taste, health and price. The implication for policy makers is that the public needs to be knowledgeable of the various benefits. There will be no inducement for consumers to buy GMF if they feel that benefits will only accrue to the manufacturers of GMF.
A number of models have been developed to recognize and forecast human behavior (D'Souza and Quazi, 2005; Yeung and Morris, 2001). According to literature, GMF models have linked purchase intention to consumer attitudes, which are resolute by danger and advantage awareness. In fact, perceptions are determined by information and understanding of food biotechnology. Research has show that there is no worldwide correlation between attitudes and purchase behavior. While some studies are steady in their findings, others produce different data due to different investigational designs. As a result, models on food purchase are limited to specific geographical and consumer settings, and may or may not be applied to populations outside a given boundary.
Consumer awareness show to be a significant factor as a positive association was found between awareness and attitudes. Public awareness will be improved with better exposure to information on GMF, which may be facilitated using education and food labeling.
Biotechnology is currently getting pessimistic public view worldwide; a response that has limited the success of products reaching the marketplace. In UK, the push toward a sustainable biotechnology industry will be needy on offsetting concerns such as consumer uncertainty and neutral attitudes. It is very important that food industries, researchers and the government combine efforts to increase awareness and break down pessimistic perceptions that have developed in the minds of customers.
To promote acceptance of GMF it is important to understand the purchase behavior of the customer. Awareness and attitudes characteristic are relevant, if not critical dimensions of consumer purchase behavior. For those busy in GMF industries, it is imperative to note that customers have formed certain ideas about GMF. This has two important implications:.
- Industry holders should develop purpose measures for reviewing customer awareness and attitudes toward GMF. A comprehensible understanding of how and why customers perceive GMF will aid in the successful implementation of the biotechnology strategy.
- Regarding buying, decision-making by consumers responds to, and influences marketing strategies adopted by businesses. Importance should then be positioned on the management of both short-term and long-term public opinions. Moreover, consumer behavior toward GMF should dictate how best to integrate risk management strategy within the marketing mix.
The marketing of GMF should concentrate on customer concerns. The management of customer concerns is a serious purpose in the marketing of GMF. The end goal is to construct mutually beneficial associations across the whole food supply chain. In this context, businesses should develop strategies to enable balanced decision-making in the marketplace
While making the marketing plans marketers should have the following components in the mind.
- Segmentation of the customers should be based on awareness, understanding, attitudes or behavior towards GMF. All these factors influence consumer response and that is why identification of target segment will direct the specific marketing efforts to groups of people with similar concerns or psychological states.
- GM products should be associated as proportional alternatives to their non-GMF complement. It is so important to position GMF as conventional products, as this will aid in reducing safety concerns.
- The labeling of GMF should be used to be a sign of positive aspects of the industry and production methodology. Labeling is also important since it provides a good judgment of consumer control over their choices. Disclosing information on product labels may serve as a safety signal and reduce concerns. If the decision is made to label a product, manufacturers should avoid the use of potentially negative terms such as “genetic engineering”.
Successful communication is critical for acceptance of GMF, it allow customer s to understand the benefits and risks of new technologies. The ultimate goal of the food biotechnology industry is to use communication strategies to allow the public to make rational choices.
It is suggested that an incorporated communication operation be implemented by appreciated and realistic information sources. The purpose is to facilitate trust in GMF and consumer acceptance. Consumers obtain information from various sources such as the government, research organizations, universities and the media. Accurate information about biotechnology and its submission must be distributed in a harmonized way by the different sources to the place public.
The role of government and industry should not only put into practice steps to regulate food biotechnology, but also communicate their endorsement of GMF. Provisions of safety standards and assurances of protection will assist in reducing customer concerns and increasing public confidence in GMF.
The press will play an important role in the public's acceptance of food biotechnology. Exposure of the technology is currently inadequate; communication hard work such as advertising campaigns, television programs or magazines focusing on key information should be developed.
It is vital that customer purchase behavior be based on knowledge and understanding of food products, rather than sentiment. Education will assist in increasing awareness of food biotechnology from an early age (Lock, 1994). From this standpoint, high schools have a key role to play in shaping future decision-making by consumers. Opportunity exists for the introduction of biotechnological and genetic engineering principles into the world curriculum.
5. 3. Recommendation Future research
In this study, the attitudes and purchase intentions of knowledgeable respondents were examined. Even though the research makes available insight into understanding consumer acceptance of food biotechnology, more work is required and recommendations for future research are provided:
- These results may not be investigative of national response. A larger study sample is required to obtain data which is more representative of educated and non-educated populations.
- Research should also be conducted to inspect the purchase behavior of certain age groups, racial groups and gender for which this study had few respondents.
- Further effort is required to give a more complete and perfect picture of the factors that influence consumer purchase intentions. The conceptual model presented in this work only provides a broad framework for this complex phenomenon.
- It will be vital to inspect the influence of information provision on attitudes and purchase intentions toward GMF.
- Research into the development of effective communication strategies about food biotechnology and GMF should be initiated. A useful extension of this topic would be to examine how labeling of GMF will influence consumer behavior.