Gender differences in consumers' acceptance of genetically modified foods

H. Moerbeek, G. Casimir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Research has shown that women are less accepting of genetically engineered products than men. We expect two mechanisms to be at work here. First, in consumer behaviour theory, more knowledge is assumed to lead to more acceptance. We assumed that for genetically engineered foods, this general principle does not apply since long-term consequences are not known yet. The well-informed consumer is likely to be comparatively more concerned with this lack of knowledge. We call this the information paradox. Theory on the topic is relatively recent. The results of this study will help to distinguish consumer behaviour with regard to new types of food as compared with traditional foods. Second, we assumed that there is a gender factor included in attitudes toward foods. In general, women still plan food and household purchases. A tentative attitude and an accompanying reluctance toward food innovation are adopted when buying food for children. We call this the gender paradox. In this exploratory study we use data from the Eurobarometer. Eurobarometer surveys have been executed since 1973 by the European Commission among the adult population of European Union member countries (n > 10 000), monitoring the evolution of public opinion. Analysis of these surveys shows that gender differences exist in the acceptance of genetically modified (GM) foods in Europe. Women tend to be less accepting toward genetically modified foods. This supports our gender hypothesis. However, no evidence was found to support the assumed information paradox. It seems that knowledge leads to acceptance, also of GM foods, but more so for men than for women
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-318
JournalInternational Journal of Consumer Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Gender differences in consumers' acceptance of genetically modified foods'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this