Can consumer food choices contribute to reduce environmental impact? The case of cisgenic apples

Sci Total Environ. 2019 Sep 1;681:155-162. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.05.119. Epub 2019 May 10.

Abstract

In the last decade, cisgenic breeding emerged as a valuable alternative to transgenic genetic modification. Cisgenesis allows to obtain disease-resistant crops, thus reducing the need of chemical pesticides in the fields. This would imply a reduction of the environmental impact deriving from agricultural production. To concretely exploit the potential deriving from such biotechnology application, consumers' willingness to buy and consume such food is an essential matter. In this study we explore consumer choice behavior for cisgenic vs conventional apple alternatives through a hypothetical Choice Experiment, meanwhile examining attribute non-attendance behaviors. The Latent Class Model estimates reveal considerable differences across population segments in terms of choice behavior and preferences. In fact, while some consumers choose based on this attribute, a sizable segment of the population ignores it, suggesting that there may be room on the market for these products with potential implications in terms of environmental and food policy formulation.

Keywords: Apple sector; Cisgenic; Consumer; Discrete choice experiment; Environmental impact; Food choice.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Crops, Agricultural
  • Environment*
  • Food Preferences*
  • Malus*