Saturday, May 12, 2007

Food and nano ... perceptions of benefits are still what matters most

Michael Siegrist and his colleagues at the ETH Zuerich just pre-released findings from their forthcoming study on nano food and food packaging in Appetite. Among their findings:
"[P]articipants were hesitant to buy nanotechnology foods or food with nanotechnology packaging. Results suggest, however, that nanotechnology packaging is perceived as being more beneficial than nanotechnology foods. Results further suggest that social trust in the food industry is an important factor directly influencing the affect evoked by these new products. As suggested by the affect heuristic, affect had an impact on perceived benefits and perceived risks."
Similar to what we found for general population surveys in the U.S., Siegrist et al. also report findings that suggest that a general sense of optimism about the potential benefits of nanotechnology continues to be the central predictor of attitudes, even after other variables are taken into account:
"Perceived benefit seems to be the most important predictor for willingness to buy."

(Click here for a link to the full study.)