GM food and neophobia: connecting with the gatekeepers of consumer choice



Resistance to importation of genetically modified (GM) foods in rich countries has deterred governments in many food-exporting countries from approving the planting of GM food crops for fear of damaging export markets for conventional food. Apart from governments that have actively imposed barriers to entry, another level of resistance can arise from food distribution channel members deciding not to import foods which they believe consumers in their markets will not want. GM foods fall in this category in some markets, particularly in Europe. In China and India, the two most populous consumer markets, pragmatic considerations appear likely to overcome neophobia regarding this technology, provided that benefits are adequately communicated to consumers. Choice-modelling experiments show that the same may well be true in Europe. Copyright © 2008 Society of Chemical Industry