The International Consortium on Agricultural Biotechnology Research (ICABR)



Estimates of WTP Premium for Non-GMO foods- A Survey


Catherine Mendenhall, Yale University





The GM debate has been intensifying with time. Proponents of the new technologies speak of making healthful foods even more nutritious, reducing the need for toxic chemicals, and increasing the yield of plants-- all helping to feed the earth’s expanding population. But fears of GM foods have also been growing. It is possible that altered foods may cause people to be allergic to foods they could normally consume, and that altered plants may become superweeds that are resistant to insects and pesticides. Due to the large degree of uncertainty regarding GM crops, biotech companies are beginning to wonder if the GM revolution will be the next green revolution. The success of the movement is dependent on the degree of consumer acceptance.

If a segment of the population rejects the concept of Genetically Modified foods, or requests that such foods are labeled, a new market for certified non-Genetically Modified foods may develop in parallel to the organic food market. To assess the degree of possibility for such an occurrence, this study assesses the general public’s current level of risk perception, its desire for a required distinction between GM and non-GM foods, and its willingness to pay a premium for certified non-GM foods. A profile of the individual concerned about GM foods is also drawn, and a breakdown of the required price premia required for certified non-GM varieties is performed for a limited number of foods.

Over 80% of those tested believed that GM foods should be labeled. 70% of those sampled preferred non-GM foods if equal in price to GM, and 50% indicated that they would be likely to pay up to a 10% premium for certified non-GM foods. The possibility of a new certified non-GM market should not be ignored.


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