Consumers & plant genomics : the positioning and acceptance of a new plant breeding practice

T. van den Heuvel

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Innovative developments in technology, such as the emergence of genomics as a plant breeding practice, hold the potential to change the supply side of the market. The success of these practices not only depends on the improved efficiency and effectiveness it brings, but also on how well they are aligned with consumer perceptions and practices in the market place. This stresses the importance of making the voice of the consumer heard early on in the development and application of these innovative plant breeding practices. The aim of this thesis is therefore to contribute to a better understanding of the consumer behavior perspective in the development of new tomato varieties based on plant genomics.
The first chapter provides the theoretical basis for the four empirical chapters that follow. In this chapter, quality guidance models are discussed that take the consumer as a starting point in the product development. It also includes the role of information, about the product technology, on consumer perception and acceptance of both the technology and the products it brings about.
Chapter 2 develops an elaboration of the Quality Guidance Model to more explicitly include the so-called credence attribute perceptions of consumers as a yardstick for product development. The results confirm that credence attribute perceptions need to be taken into account when the purpose is to develop consumer preferred products. Chapter 3 explores the extent to which the positioning of plant breeding technologies affect consumer preferences and shows that this effect primarily operates through making the credence attribute perceptions more salient in the consumer decision process. Chapter 4 explores consumer images for different plant breeding practices in more detail and shows that initial images of genomics may change as a result of further information exchange and elaboration. The final empirical chapter in this thesis (chapter 5) explores how mode of thought and reference point in the decision process affects consumer evaluation. Contrary to expectation it shows that only mode of thought (conscious versus unconscious thought) has an effect on consumer evaluation. Chapter 6 summarizes the results of the previous chapters and describes the implications and limitations of the research. Overall, the results of this thesis contribute to a better recognition of consumer perspective in the development of new plant varieties and subsequently suggest several ways to improve the consumer perspective into this process.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • van Trijp, Hans, Promotor
  • van Woerkum, Cees, Promotor
  • Gremmen, Bart, Promotor
  • Renes, Reint-Jan, Co-promotor
Award date13 Oct 2008
Place of Publication[S.l.]
Print ISBNs9789085049784
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2008


  • consumer attitudes
  • product development
  • technology
  • plant breeding
  • consumer preferences
  • new products
  • tomatoes
  • innovations
  • information
  • communication
  • genomics


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