Big issues for a small technology: consumer trade-offs in acceptance of nanotechnology in food

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Henchion, Maeve
McCarthy, Mary
Dillon, Emma J.
Greehy, Gráinne Maria
McCarthy, Sinéad N.
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Nanotechnology offers many potential applications across the supply chain which could result in a more sustainable agriculture and food system. However, considerable challenges still exist in realising its potential, including consumer acceptance. This research examines consumer perspectives on two different nanotechnology applications (in packaging for chicken fillets and in cheese) using conjoint analysis. A face-to-face survey of 1046 Irish adults was undertaken. It finds that technology has a significant impact on consumer food choices (higher levels of acceptance with traditional technology rather than nanotechnology), that different applications of a technology can result in varying levels of acceptance (higher acceptance for nanotechnology in packaging of chicken fillets rather than in the cheese product) and that offering salient benefits (e.g. health or lower price) can off-set technology concerns in some but not all instances. Differences amongst consumer segments also exist with price having low utility for “health focused consumers” but having high utility for “conventional consumers”.
Nanotechnology , Consumer acceptance , Sustainability , Agriculture and food , Conjoint analysis , Cheeses , Chickens , Commercialization , Food production , Food science , Industry , Prices , Product development , Supply chain , Surveys , Sustainable agriculture , Traditional technology
Henchion, M., McCarthy, M., Dillon, E. J., Greehy, G. and McCarthy, S. N. (2019) 'Big issues for a small technology: consumer trade-offs in acceptance of nanotechnology in food', Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies, 58, 102210 (9 pp). doi: 10.1016/j.ifset.2019.102210