Literature Review and Annotated Bibliography Recent New Zealand research on consumer and public responses to emerging food technologies
Overview • Aim • Methods • Annotated bibliography • Summary information • How do the NZ public and consumers feel about emerging food technologies? • How different is ‘consumer’ and ‘public’ decision-making? • Market opportunities??
Aim • ‘Stocktake’ of recent New Zealand research • Identify key trends and themes • Understand how key issues in the social context may influence public responses to future food technology developments • Social/market intelligence Strategy
Methods • Literature search • 1999 – 2009 • Keyword search through range of research databases • Recommendations from advisory panel • Grey literature, thesis, articles etc included • Selected pre 1999 entries also included • Annotated bibliography (138 entries)
Annotated bibliography • 138 entries coded by type of publication, institution, type of study, method • Topic/application index to follow • Not definitive (as at Nov 09) • Ongoing stakeholder engagement will produce updated electronic resource
Publications by Year Royal Commission
Key themes • A rapidly advancing technological field, an increasingly sophisticated public, and an increasingly sophisticated debate. • NZ and international markets/consumer responses are ‘volatile’, complex and difficult to anticipate. • Interplay of social values and consumer responses.
How do the NZ public and consumers feel about emerging food technologies? • Pre 1999 (polling studies) – low awareness, no strong aversion • Royal Commission 2001 (90% IP submissions opposed) • 2004 – AERU survey (Cook et al.) over 50% of respondents concerned or very concerned about biotech and use of GMO’s in agriculture • 2005 – (Kaye-Blake et al.) consumer study found 41% household shoppers would not choose GE apples even if they were free • Strong aversion to GM food, difficult to shift • Early adoption of GE not ‘rational’ to N.Z.er’s
Strongly opposed Opposed Undecided 50% Public opinion • Royal Commission (2001) – commercial crops – 24% strongly disapprove, 34% disapprove, 4% undecided, 31% just approve, 5% strongly approve • Small et al. (2002) GE Food - 36% totally opposed, 52% conditionally support, 3% totally supportive • Cook & Fairweather (2005) GM apples – 22% very unacceptable, 32% unacceptable, 23% undecided, 17% acceptable, 5% very acceptable • Broad summary;
Some studies suggest … • Slight shift over time showing an apparent growing middle ground • Recent claims that ‘public opinion’ studies may overestimate public opposition • More nuanced decision-making - ‘It depends’ – consideration of risks/benefits for a specific application
‘it depends’ Strongly opposed Strongly opposed Opposed Undecided 50% 50% Unpacking ‘it depends’ • Mainly drawn from ‘oppositional’ • Could reflect ‘contingent priming’/framing around conditional idiom
A growing middle ground? • Most authors regard the evidence of an increasing middle ground rather cautiously, and emphasise the volatility of consumer opinion. • Mix of ‘conditional factors’ and more ‘resilient’ anti-GE views • Interlocking relationship between two sets of values • nature has an intrinsic value • ‘post materialist’ value sets (strong notions of democracy, citizenship, anti-materialism and cynicism toward capitalism)
General patterns in social acceptability • Greater support for: • Medical • Laboratory • Less support for: • GM field crops • GM animals
Objections • Interfering with nature • Public and environmental safety • Unknown consequences • Women and Māori more likely to hold strong objections • Māori objections • Treaty of Waitangi – rights to kaitiakitanga • sanctity of whakapapa extending to flora and fauna
Support • Males, younger people, and high income groups • Slightly higher positive views and ‘fascination’ for nanotech
Whose viewpoints have been studied? • ‘Consumers’ - household shoppers, mothers, affluent • ‘Public’ – scope expanding (initial surveys only professionals & teachers) • Also dedicated studies with farmers, scientists, & Māori. • Viewpoints of Pacific Island and other cultural groups under-explored • this project will include Maori & Pacific viewpoints (Ann Saolele)
Public opinion Social values around acceptability Range of scenarios Typically surveys Focus groups, workshops ‘Citizenship & governance’ - impacts on others, long term costs/benefits Consumer Response to product Changes in product attributes or price Often hypothetical ‘Purchasing’ - impacts to self & family, immediate costs/benefits Comparing ‘public’ and ‘consumer’ studies
Commentaries on consumer/public studies • Public opinion surveys place respondents in the role of citizens, who make judgements from society’s point of view, whereas experimental auctions specifically reveal consumer reactions. (Noussair cited in Kassardjian et al. 2005) • Consumer studies are hypothetical, attitude/intention does not translate to actual behaviour.
Have public opinion studies overestimated the level of opposition? • Consumer choice experiment – actual purchase (Knight et al. 2005,2007) • Conducted in 6 countries • Roadside stall ‘organic’, ‘spray-free GM’ or ‘conventional’ fruit (Queenstown, Otago) • At median price ‘organic’ received highest market share • With price discounting 60% N.Z.er’s purchased ‘spray-free GM’, one of highest • BUT methodological questions ie. ‘spray-free’ or ‘GM’?
Market opportunities?? Two market ‘clusters’ • Lower income, respond to price discounting - implications for Māori • Higher income, will pay premium for functional foods that deliver real benefits - parents of younger children, people over 50 with health concerns, people with family disease history (Richards 2004) Paradoxically these groups (mothers, elderly, unwell) are also most likely to be concerned about GM food and food safety
Prerequisites for acceptance • Clear labelling • Trust/confidence in the producers and regulatory authorities to manage risks • Implications for NZ ‘clean and green’ brand (-ve impacts on tourism) • Co-existence of GM and non-GM
Implications for future food investment in NZ • Clear benefits (ie. health) • Laboratory work, rather than field release • Medical, rather than agricultural or food crops • Functional foods, biopharming? • But underlying attitudes, values, risk perceptions still influential