How Technology Features Influence Public Response to New Agrifood Technologies

Amber Ronteltap*, Machiel J. Reinders, Suzanne M. van Dijk, Sanne Heijting, Ivo A. van der Lans, Bert Lotz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


New agrifood technologies are often difficult to grasp for the public, which may lead to resistance or even rejection. Insight into which technology features determine public acceptability of the technology could offer guidelines for responsible technology development. This paper systematically assesses the relative importance of specific technology features for consumer response in the agrifood domain in two consecutive studies. Prominent technology features were selected from expert judgment and literature. The effects of these features on consumer evaluation were tested in a consumer study (n = 745). Fictitious technologies were used to avoid any uncontrollable contextual influences that existing new technologies may evoke. Results show that technologies that were seen as more natural and newer were perceived less risky, more beneficial, and were evaluated more positively. Technologies applied to food were judged to be more beneficial, but also more risky than those applied to non-food. Technologies used in the production process were perceived to be less risky and evaluated more positively than those used in the product. Technologies owned by the market leader were perceived to be more beneficial, and evaluated more positively than those that were freely available. In a next study (n = 440), effects of the technology features on consumer response were tested for existing new agrifood technologies. This study replicated the results for perceived naturalness, perceived newness, and place in the production process where the technology is applied. However, in contrast to the first study, we did not find an effect of application area (food versus non-food) and technology ownership.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-672
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Agrifood
  • Consumer
  • Innovation
  • Naturalness
  • Survey
  • Technology acceptance


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