Examining Consumer Behavior Toward Genetically Modified (GM) Food in Britain


*Address correspondence to Alexa Spence, University of Nottingham, School of Psychology, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK; tel: 07876631793; fax: 01159515324; lpxas@psychology.nottingham.ac.uk.


This study examined behavior toward genetically modified (GM) food in a British community-based sample. We used an equivalent gain task in which participants actually received the options they chose to encourage truthful responding. In conjunction with this, theory of planned behavior (TPB) components were evaluated so as to examine the relative importance of behavioral influences in this domain. Here, the TPB was extended to include additional components to measure self-identity, moral norms, and emotional involvement. Results indicated that the monetary amounts participants accepted in preference to GM food were significantly lower than those accepted in preference to non-GM food. However, the vast majority of participants were indifferent between GM and non-GM food options. All TPB components significantly predicted behavioral intentions to try GM food, with attitudes toward GM being the strongest predictor. Self-identity and emotional involvement were also found to be significant predictors of behavioral intentions but moral norms were not. In addition, behavioral intentions significantly predicted behavior; however, PBC did not. An additional measure of participants' propensity to respond in a socially desirable manner indicated that our results were not influenced by self-presentation issues, giving confidence to our findings. Overall, it appears that the majority of participants (74.5%) would purchase GM food at some price.