Economic impact of consumer attitudes


GMO labelling was made mandatory in response to pressure from consumers to have the freedom of choice. The more consumers choose to exercise this freedom to reject GMOs, the more producers will have an incentive to offer products that don’t need to have GMO labels. This task is finding out  how many consumers intend to exercise their freedom to reject GM products, and how much they are willing to spend to do so.


Information on consumer attitudes towards GMOs in foods is collected by conducting interviews. Interview forms are sent by mail to 1,000 households in the UK, Germany, Spain, Poland, and Denmark. The questionnaire asks consumers to how willing they would be to purchase non-GM products at a range of premiums.

By finding out how much consumers are willing to pay extra for non-GM foods, researchers are able to estimate market demand curves. In association with the costs determined for the tests and documentation needed for traceability determined in other projects, this project estimates ultimate market sizes for GM and non-GM food products.


The main results of the survey can be summarized as follows. Freshness and flavour can be considered as the most important element for food purchasing. However, in GB, Poland and Spain price is also considered. There is a general negative attitude towards GM food in all countries. University scientists and consumer groups are the more trusted sources of information, and Denmark and Germany responders feel themselves more informed that the rest. Regarding to organic food, only German and Danish consumers do spend on organic food. Moreover there is an agreement among countries regarding positive attitudes towards organic food. The study also revealed that GM technology is not considered by respondents as very risky compared with pesticides, artificial hormones or irradiation. Finally, respondents in all study countries prefer conventional food over GM food. However, Spanish respondents made a slight exception since they were prepared to pay a premium for GM food with health benefits. Moreover, all study country respondents except Polish ones, assigned a higher utility for organic food in relation to conventional counterpart.

More information: 

Consumers’ attitudes to the EU traceability and labelling regulation

Public Deliverables of the Co-Extra project


Anders Larsen and Morten Gylling
The Danish Research Institute of Food Economics (FOI), Danmark
Jose Chema Gil
Centro de Investigacion en Economia Y Desarrollo Agroalimentarios(CREDA), Spain
Bruce Traill
The University of Reading, United Kingdom
Matthias Stolze
Forschungsinstitut fuer Biologischen Landbau (FiBL), Switzerland
Klaus Menrad
University of Applied Sciences of Weihenstephan, Germany
Sylwia Zakowska-Biemans
Warsaw Agricultural University, Poland