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Proposal for the 10th International Conference of the International Consortium on Agricultural Biotechnology Research (ICABR), Ravello, Italy, June 29 – July 2, 2006. “Agricultural Biotechnology: Facts, Analysis and Policies” Consumer Attitudes toward Animal Food Products Produced using Biotechnology Leslie J. Butler University of California, Davis, USA Marianne McGarry Wolf California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, USA While the prospect of the products of cloned animals (dairy, beef, pork and poultry) being released onto the U.S. market for general consumption is relatively new, a market structure that incorporates the products of other genetically modified foods has been established over the last 10 – 15 years. It is expected that as more and more genetically modified foods are approved and find their way onto U.S. food and fiber markets, these markets will evolve in a way that will accommodate the new food products and will in many ways dictate their success or failure. The FDA is widely expected to endorse the findings of a 2002 National Academy of Science report it commissioned that found that food products derived from cloned animals do not “present a food safety concern”. The cloned animals themselves are not likely to find their way onto the market because they are breeding stock, and will likely be considered too valuable to sell for slaughter. However, the off-spring of these cloned animals are likely to be part of the future meat and milk suppliers for U.S. markets. The question then is “What is likely to be the reaction of consumers?” The purpose of this research is to use consumer survey research to examine consumer reaction to beef and milk products produced by the offspring of cloned animals. The milk products will have the consumer benefit of, lower price. The beef products are expected to have the beneficial characteristics, “juicer and tastier”. The research uses a survey instrument and a concept exposure that will be administered through the use of a personal interview of approximately 400 randomly selected respondents at food stores in the January and February of 2006 in San Luis Obispo County, California. San Luis Obispo County was designated the best test market in the United States by Demographics Daily (Thomas, 2001). San Luis Obispo was found to be the best of 3,141 counties to represent a microcosm of the United States based on 33 statistical indicators. This methodology uses simulated test marketing and a concept exposure to compare consumer purchase interest in milk and beef products that are produced conventionally with milk and beef products that are produced through the use of biotechnology. The research uses a survey instrument and a concept exposure. Simulated test marketing research is a valid methodology that has been used by the marketing community since the 1960’s to forecast expected purchase interest in new products and new positionings for existing products. This research uses the laboratory experiment component of simulated test marketing in a four cell study design to test the impact of a change in the product feature, type of production, on purchase interest in fresh beef and milk. Two cells will be used for each food product. Cell one is the control cell for milk and examines purchase interest in conventionally produced milk at the existing market price. The second cell examines purchase interest in milk produced using biotechnology available at a lower price. Cell three examines purchase interest in conventionally produced beef at the market price. Cell four examines “juicier and tastier” beef produced through the use of biotechnology, also at the market price.
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