Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Agribusiness




James Ahern


With the adoption of biotechnology in many agricultural products with first-generation biotechnology traits such as increased pest resistance, greater herbicide resistance, and increased yields the growers have accepted them. The next wave of biotech crops have second-generation traits, such as improved nutrient content, extended shelf life, reduced pesticide and herbicide application (a consumer demanded trait), and better taste. Will these consumer benefits offset any concern that the consumer has regarding biotechnology? What are those benefits and how should the information be communicated to the consumer?

Three focus groups give insight to the proposed questions. The focus groups were done in three California cities, with participants screened to be: 18-65 years of age, the primary shopper for the household, and with an education level up to a bachelor’s degree.

We found that the consumer has little knowledge of biotechnology, but that they assume any concern over these products is reduced if the grocery store or point of purchase is a reputable location. The consumer does look for added utility in products, but they are not willing to pay more unless they understand the production of biotechnology developed products. The consumer feels that there should be labeling of these products, but will likely purchase the least expensive option.