Nanotechnology and food : investigating consumers' acceptance of foods produced using nanotechnology

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McCarron, Eileen
Issue Date
MA of Business Administration
Dublin Business School
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The food industry is continuously experimenting, and it is always looking for new ways to satisfy consumer demands, to improve production, and to increase profits. Nanotechnology is an innovative technology which has been utilised by many food sectors for this purpose. It is used, as a way of improving cultivation and food production, in order to improve nutrition and flavours, and to improve the packaging and preservation of foods. Consumer acceptance of Nanotechnology in food production is vital for the successful application of this technology. Numerous studies have analysed the public perception of nanotechnology in food. A large percentage of the public has little or no familiarity with nanotechnology. The purpose of this dissertation is to examine consumers’ acceptance of foods produced using nanotechnology. The dissertation seeks to review, and to identify the following: ▪ The level of consumer awareness in relation to nanotechnology ▪ The most significant factors which influence consumers, in relation to applications of nanotechnology in food production. ▪ What demographic characteristics may be useful in understanding consumer acceptance of nanotechnology and nano-based foods. Following the completion of on-line questionnaires, the researcher has proven that: ▪ A large number of consumers ‘do not know’ what nanotechnology involves. ▪ Men assess risks as smaller, or less significant than women do, however females indicate a greater acceptance of nano-foods that produce health/moral benefits. ▪ There is a knowledge gap among different age groups, and educational groups. ▪ Regarding the ‘perceived risks and benefits’ consumers are influenced by factors such as ‘The trust of the stakeholders involved, and the perceived naturalness of the applications.’ As a result of these findings, the researcher has identified some recommendations for industries involved in food production, for policy makers in connection with regulation and labelling, and lastly some recommendations for future research. Author keywords: Nanotechnology, food, consumer behaviour