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Abstract

The debate over the safety of genetically modified organisms (GMO's) has varied greatly in intensity. In Europe, the debate has been vigorous and European consumers have, in general, been extremely skeptical of the technology and unwilling to assume the risks associated with GMOs. Many retailers in Europe have promised that they will not sell food products that contain GMOs. In the U.S., consumer reaction to GMOs has been more muted. While some surveys have shown that a majority of Americans support the use of biotechnology, others have found that many Americans have reservations about the technology. Most of the research published to date has focused on consumer opinions regarding GMOs. Relatively little research has focused on understanding the basis of consumer opinion or developing or evaluating strategies targeted at gaining consumer acceptance of GMO products. The purpose of this research is to evaluate the effect of two potential strategies to gain consumer acceptance of GMO foods. Specifically, we examine the effectiveness of using a familiar brand or federal government certification on consumer acceptance of GMOs. This research is timely because the rapid pace of GMO development and adoption will soon make it difficult, if not impossible, to maintain separate products based on the presence or absence of GMO content. The conceptual basis for the model used in this paper is Lancaster's theory of consumer demand. The paper discusses the results of the analysis that was undertaken.

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