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Abstract

Soybeans have been a principal commodity crop in Arkansas for decades with approximately 3.2 million acres devoted to its’ production. Soybeans grown in Arkansas and the U.S. are predominantly genetically engineered (GE) as weed control is easier and more economical using this practice. Edamame, green immature soybean harvested near the end of the pod filling stage, has experienced strong sales growth in the U.S. in recent years and Mulberry, Arkansas, is the headquarters of an edamame processing facility. Created in 2012, it is the first at the commercial scale and largest in the US. The technology is available to grow GE edamame, but anticipated consumer resistance to GE edamame has stopped the industry to date to plant and sell GE edamame. With recent discussion about food labeling legislation, requiring foods to display whether a product is GE, the potential opportunity exists to market GE edamame. This study assesses the consumers’ maximum willingness to pay for GE edamame and explores product labeling effects on edamame using a non-hypothetical experimental auction as well as a sensory test to compare GE to conventional edamame using soybeans grown at the University of Arkansas’s Fayetteville Agricultural Experiment Station.

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