AN EMPIRICAL STUDY OF LATVIAN CONSUMER’S ATTITUDES AND PERCEPTIONS TOWARDS GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
Keywords:attitudes, consumer, genetically modified organism, perception
Genetic modification and genetically modified organisms (GMO) remains a controversial issue. Latvian consumers’ attitude towards genetic modification and GMO have been characterized as negative using Eurobarometer data, but so far no specific investigation of Latvian consumers has been done in this field.
The aim of this study was to analyse Latvian consumers’ attitude towards genetic modification and GMO, the subjective and objective knowledge about this questions and acceptability of use of GMO in different application areas.
Main task in frame of this research is to summarize different literature and data available to outline some of factors that influence attitudes towards GMO: mainly public subjective and objective knowledge, perception on risk and benefits, and ethical concerns.
The survey method was chosen as a tool to collect data and elicit Latvian consumers’ attitude towards use of GMO in different industries. The survey was composed of 18 questions; seven of them have been structured on one to ten-point scale. The survey data of Latvia’s inhabitants (N = 1184) were collected by the telemarketing company from September 2014 until June 2015. To select the units to be included in the sample systematic sampling was applied - every twentieth inhabitant was approached by phone call and invited to answer on survey questions.
The results of Latvian consumers’ survey showed that Latvians’ acceptability of genetic modification varies by application area; genetically modified non-food products are more accepted than GM food and feed products. Ethical and moral aspects play essential role among Latvian consumers. Respondents’ subjective and objective knowledge of genetic modification and GMO differs.
The findings would be essential to policy makers when designing risk-communication strategies targeting different consumer segments to ensure proper discussion and addressing potential concerns about genetic modification.