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Swedish consumers´ attitudes and values to genetic modification and conventional plant breeding – The case of fruit and vegetables
GM Crops & Food  (IF3.074),  Pub Date : 2021-05-10, DOI: 10.1080/21645698.2021.1921544
Sara Spendrup, Dennis Eriksson, Fredrik Fernqvist

ABSTRACT

This study examined public attitudes to genetic modification (GM) and conventional plant breeding and explored general differences in attitudes to these two types of breeding concepts, including the effect of individual personal characteristics such as gender and age. It also sought to identify the influence of personal values linked to attitudes to GM crops and conventional plant breeding, following Schwartz value theory. Relations between specific values and attitudes to GM organisms (GMOs) have been studied previously, but not gender- and age-specific relations between specific values and attitudes to conventional plant breeding. Data were collected in this study using a questionnaire completed on-line by 1500 Swedish consumers in 2019. The questionnaire covered three different aspects: 1) sociodemographic data, including gender and age; 2) attitudes to GMO/conventional plant breeding; and 3) values, measured using the human values scale. It was found that consumers expressed more positive attitudes to conventional plant breeding than to GMO, men expressed more positive attitudes to both conventional plant breeding and GMO than women did, and younger consumers expressed more positive attitudes to GMO than older consumers did. A negative correlation between attitudes to conventional plant breeding and the value ‘tradition’, but no correlation to ‘universalism’, ‘benevolence’, ‘power’ or ‘achievement’, was identified for men. For women, correlations between attitudes to conventional plant breeding and ‘benevolence’ (neg.) and ‘achievement’ (pos.) were found. For both men and women, attitudes to GMO were negatively influenced by ‘universalism’ and ‘benevolence’, and positively influenced by ‘power’ and ‘achievement’. The implications of these results are discussed.