Consumer acceptance of and willingness to pay for food nanotechnology: a systematic review

Emma Giles, Sharron Kuznesof, Beth Clark, Carmen Hubbard, Lynn J. Frewer

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    Background: Consumer's attitudes to, and acceptance of, emerging technologies and their applications, are important determinants of their successful implementation and commercialisation. Understanding the range of socio psychological, cultural and affective factors which may influence consumer responses to applications of nanotechnology will help “fine-tune” the development of consumer products in line with their expectations and preferences. This is particularly true of applications in the food area, where consumer concerns about 37 technologies applied to food production may be elevated.
    Objectives: This research applied systematic review methodology to synthesise current knowledge regarding societal acceptance or rejection of nanotechnology applied to agri-food production. The objective was to aggregate knowledge derived from different research areas to gain an overall picture of consumer responses to 43 nanotechnology applied to food production.
    Information sources: Relevant electronic databases of peer-reviewed literature were searched from the earliest date available, for peer-reviewed papers which reported primary empirical data on consumer and expert acceptance of agri-food nanotechnology, using a formal systematic review protocol.
    Eligibility criteria: Inclusion criteria for papers to be included in the review were: empirical peer-reviewed papers written in English; a population sample of adults aged 18 years and over used in the research; a research focus on consumer and expert acceptance of agri-food nanotechnology; and research on attitudes towards, and willingness to pay for ,different applications of agri-food nanotechnology.
    Study selection, appraisal and synthesis: Two researchers independently appraised the papers using NVivo 10 QSR software. Studies examining consumer and expert acceptance were thematically analysed, and key information collated. The results were synthesised in order to identify trends in information relevant to consumer acceptance of nanotechnology applied to food production.
    Results: Eight key themes were identified from the 32 papers which were extracted from the literature. These themes were applied to understand the determinants of consumer acceptance of agri-food nanotechnology.
    Conclusions: Nanotechnology is more likely to be accepted by consumers when applied to development of novel packaging with distinct benefits rather than when integrated directly into agri-food products. Trust and confidence in agri-food nanotechnology and its governance needs to be fostered through transparent regulation and development of societally beneficial impacts to increase consumer acceptance.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)-
    JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2015


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