UNDERSTANDING CONSUMER ACCEPTANCE OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS IN CANADA: AN EXPLORATION OF THE INFLUENCE OF CULTURE ON CONSUMER PLANNED BEHAVIORS
Genetically modified (GM) food is playing an increasingly important role in the global food supply chain but is still a controversial topic with consumers. This study aims to better understand consumer acceptance of GM foods and the influences of culture in Canada. More specifically, this paper investigates antecedents to consumer attitudes with respect to GM foods and how individualism and uncertainty avoidance might moderate the relationships between perceptions of risks and benefits, subjective norms, and purchase intentions. The theoretical framework of this study is based on the Theory of Planned Behavior and Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory. Specifically, attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control are proposed as three significant predictors of consumers’ purchase intention of GM foods. In addition, perceived personal benefits are hypothesized to have a stronger influence on attitude among consumers with a more individualist culture compared to consumers with a more collectivistic culture. In contrast, subjective norm is predicted to have stronger influence on purchase intention among consumers with more collectivistic culture. Moreover, perceived risks are hypothesized to have a stronger influence on attitude among consumers with higher scores on uncertainty avoidance. This study employed a questionnaire-based consumer survey to collect quantitative information. The results indicate that consumer attitudes are influenced by perceived personal, social, and industry benefits, and risks. Further, consumers with high uncertainty avoidance place heavier emphasis on the risk factors. The integrated framework and findings of this study provide useful knowledge for both researchers and food marketers to better understand the influence of cultural values in shaping consumers’ attitude and purchase intention. The results have potential implications for Canadian food and agricultural companies with respect to creating more effective strategies to communicate with consumers from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Consumer behavior, Genetically modified food, Theory of Planned Behavior
Master of Science (M.Sc.)
Edwards School of Business