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Article
Publication date: 25 May 2021

Shan Jin, Beth Clark, Wenjing Li, Sharron Kuznesof and Lynn J. Frewer

Scientists' perceptions of societal needs and priorities will shape the innovation trajectories of synthetic biology (SB). In turn, these will be shaped by the funding and…

Abstract

Purpose

Scientists' perceptions of societal needs and priorities will shape the innovation trajectories of synthetic biology (SB). In turn, these will be shaped by the funding and regulatory environments in which their research is conducted. This study intends to investigate scientists' perspectives on co-innovation with the public regarding implementation of pathways associated with SB including its agrifood applications.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with Chinese and EU scientists (N = 9 and 13, respectively). Six prominent themes emerged from the data based on thematic analysis method.

Findings

Both Chinese and EU scientists regarded SB as being high-benefit, low-risk and ethically acceptable, and predicted its rejection by the general public and attributed this to the public's knowledge deficit and irrationality. They endorsed the deficit model of science communication, independent of greater emphasis on responsible research and innovation (RRI) in EU research projects. The findings raised concerns that public fears might intensify once they have learned about scientists' biased risk perceptions of SB; this calls for better involvement of broader stakeholders.

Research limitations/implications

As the sample size is relatively small, the generalisation of research findings needs to be cautious. However, the authors believe the findings have provided some insights that support increasingly RRI associated with SB.

Originality/value

This study has presented scientists' misunderstandings of societal responses to SB and science communication. It has also provided information to understand how SB-related issues and agenda can be better shaped in future.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 123 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2018

Mariette Abrahams, Lynn J. Frewer, Eleanor Bryant and Barbara Stewart-Knox

The purpose of this paper is to explore the perceptions and experiences of early adopters of the technology.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the perceptions and experiences of early adopters of the technology.

Design/methodology/approach

Registered dietitians (RDs) (n=14) were recruited from the UK, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Mexico and Israel. Six qualitative interviews and two focus groups were conducted online using a conference calling platform. Data were recorded, transcribed and thematically analyzed.

Findings

Early adopters of nutrigenomics (NGx) were experienced, self-efficacious RDs who actively sought knowledge of NGx through communication with one another and the broader scientific community. They considered NGx an extension of current practice and believed RDs had the skills to deliver it. Perceived barriers to widening the application of NGx were linked to skepticism among the wider dietetics community. Proliferation of unregulated websites offering tests and diets was considered “pseudoscience” and detrimental to dietetics fully embracing NGx. Lack of a sustainable public health model for the delivery of NGx was also perceived to hinder progress. Results are discussed with reference to “diffusion of innovation theory.”

Originality/value

The views of RDs who practice NGx have not been previously studied. These data highlight requirements for future dietetic training provision and more inclusive service delivery models. Regulation of NGx services and formal recognition by professional bodies is needed to address the research/practice translation gap. Further research is required to inquire as to the views of the wider dietetics profession.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 120 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 9 July 2021

Barbara J Stewart–Knox, Audrey Rankin, Brendan P Bunting, Lynn J Frewer, Carlos Celis-Morales, Katherine M Livingstone, Arnout R.H. Fischer, Rui Poínhos, Sharron Kuznesof, Mike J Gibney and John C. Mathers

Randomised controlled trials identify causal links between variables but not why an outcome has occurred. This analysis sought to determine how psychological factors…

Abstract

Purpose

Randomised controlled trials identify causal links between variables but not why an outcome has occurred. This analysis sought to determine how psychological factors assessed at baseline influenced response to personalised nutrition.

Design/methodology/approach

Web-based, randomised, controlled trial (RCT) was conducted across seven European countries. Volunteers, both male and female, aged over 18 years were randomised to either a non-personalised (control) or a personalised (treatment) dietary advice condition. Linear mixed model analysis with fixed effects was used to compare associations between internal and external health locus of control (HLoC), nutrition self-efficacy (NS-E) and self-report habit index (S-RHI) at baseline (N = 1444), with healthy eating index (HEI) and Mediterranean diet index (MDI) scores between conditions post-intervention (N = 763).

Findings

An increase in MDI scores was observed between baseline and six months in the treatment group which was associated with higher NS-E (p < 0.001), S-RHI (p < 0.001) and external HLoC (p < 0.001). Increase in HEI between baseline and six months in the treatment group was associated with higher NS-E (p < 0.001) and external HLoC (p = 0.009). Interaction between time and condition indicated increased HEI scores (p < 0.001), which were associated with higher S-RHI scores in the treatment than control group (p = 0.032). Internal HLoC had no effect on MDI or HEI.

Originality/value

Psychological factors associated with behaviour change need consideration when tailoring dietary advice. Those with weaker habit strength will require communication focussed upon establishing dietary habits and support in integrating advised changes into daily routine. Information on habit strength can also be used to inform how progress towards dietary goals is monitored and fed back to the individual. Those with stronger habit strength are more likely to benefit from personalised nutrition.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 29 July 2014

Lynn J. Frewer, David Coles, Louis-Marie Houdebine and Gijs A. Kleter

Food products developed using genetically modified (GM) animals may soon be introduced in Europe and beyond. Their successful commercialisation depends on consumer…

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2688

Abstract

Purpose

Food products developed using genetically modified (GM) animals may soon be introduced in Europe and beyond. Their successful commercialisation depends on consumer acceptance, and so it is timely to review the existing literature in this respect. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic review identified 42 English language peer reviewed papers assessing public opinion of GM animals associated with food production. Thematic analysis was applied to the results to identify and explain consumer attitudes.

Findings

Publication peaked in 2004, and declined thereafter. European consumers were less accepting of GM animal technology than the US and Asian consumers, although the latter reported more ethical concern. Risk and benefit perceptions, ethical concerns (e.g. related to animal welfare) may explain negative consumer attitudes towards animals in food production.

Research limitations/implications

There is a lack of data on consumer attitudes to GM animals applied to food production, in particular in relation to consumers in emerging economies and developing countries. This is problematic as applications of GM animal products are about to enter the market.

Practical implications

There is a need to track changes in public opinion as GM food production animals are further developed. The introduction and commercialisation of applications with specific characteristics may further shape consumer attitudes.

Social implications

Methods need to be developed to involve consumers and other stakeholders in shaping future applications of agri-food applications of GM animals.

Originality/value

The review collates existing quantitative and qualitative knowledge regarding the drivers of consumer attitudes towards GM animals used in food production using systematic review methodology.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 116 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1998

Anna Saba, Anna Moles and Lynn J. Frewer

Public opinion regarding the application and development of genetic engineering is likely to be an important factor influencing the future development of the technology…

Abstract

Public opinion regarding the application and development of genetic engineering is likely to be an important factor influencing the future development of the technology, and its subsequent application within the commercial sector. Recent studies have been carried out which have assessed public attitudes to biotechnology, and in particular genetic engineering, but there is little empirical work to understand cross‐cultural differences in attitudes, other than that using an opinion poll methodology, particularly in a cross‐cultural context. This study seeks to compare public concerns assessed by a combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis in the UK and Italy. The results show that, despite the fact that Italians used a poorer vocabulary to describe their concerns compared to the British respondents, both samples clustered the applications in a similar way. Perceptions of need and benefit were important in both Italy and the UK as determinants of acceptance of particular applications. However, while negative constructs in Italy were predominantly focused on ethical issues, respondents in the UK focused on both risk‐related issues and ethical considerations; nevertheless, the pattern of concern regarding different applications were similar in both countries.

Details

Nutrition & Food Science, vol. 98 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0034-6659

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2004

Susan Miles, Mary Brennan, Sharron Kuznesof, Mitchell Ness, Christopher Ritson and Lynn J. Frewer

Consumers may encounter a number of potential food hazards through their food choice decisions and consumption behaviour. It is psychologically determined risk perceptions…

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4819

Abstract

Consumers may encounter a number of potential food hazards through their food choice decisions and consumption behaviour. It is psychologically determined risk perceptions that drive acceptance of such potential food hazards, and define people's risk‐taking or self‐protective behaviours. As such, it is necessary to understand exactly what consumers are worried about. Food issues of concern to consumers were identified in a previous exploratory focus group study. A list of 18 food safety issues was developed for the purpose of the study reported here, with the aim of comparing worry about the different issues and investigating any demographic differences. Factor analysis indicated that attitudes to the 18 food safety issues reflected two underlying constructs, the first relating to technological food issues and the second to lifestyle food issues. In general, people were more worried about technological food hazards compared to lifestyle hazards. Demographic differences were observed for gender, age and social class, but not for geographical region, or having children; furthermore, experience of food allergy or intolerance increased worry about technological issues.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 106 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 1999

Susan Miles, Denise S. Braxton and Lynn J. Frewer

A marked increase in the incidence of microbial food poisoning parallels increasing scientific and public concern about microbiological hazards. This literature review…

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3873

Abstract

A marked increase in the incidence of microbial food poisoning parallels increasing scientific and public concern about microbiological hazards. This literature review highlights the important pathogens involved in the increase and issues salient to developing effective risk‐benefit communication with the public about microbial food poisoning. Research into public perceptions of microbiological food hazards is reviewed, together with public attitudes towards one of the technologies that could combat food poisoning: food irradiation. Suggestions for reducing the incidence of microbial food poisoning through effective communication strategies are provided.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 101 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2005

Susan Miles, Øydis Ueland and Lynn J. Frewer

This study aimed to investigate the impact of information about traceability and new detection methods for identifying genetically‐modified organisms in food, on consumer…

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6451

Abstract

Purpose

This study aimed to investigate the impact of information about traceability and new detection methods for identifying genetically‐modified organisms in food, on consumer attitudes towards genetically‐modified food and consumer trust in regulators in Italy, Norway and England. It further aimed to investigate public preferences for labelling of genetically‐modified foods in these three countries.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire was designed to investigate public attitudes toward genetically‐modified food and trust in different information sources. Participants were recruited in Italy, Norway and England for this study. A between subjects design was used, where each participant was randomly allocated to either the experimental “information condition”, or the control “no information condition”.

Findings

Receiving information about new detection methods and traceability did not directly influence consumer attitudes towards genetically‐modified foods or trust in regulators. However, response to the development of an effective system of traceability for genetically‐modified food and ingredients throughout the food chain was positive. People's preferences for labelling of genetically‐modified food were “process‐based”, in that there was a desire for all food produced using genetic modification or containing genetically‐modified ingredients to be labelled.

Originality/value

An open and transparent system of labelling regarding genetically‐modified foods and ingredients, coupled with effective traceability mechanisms, is likely to provide the best basis for consumer choice regarding the consumption of genetically‐modified foods. This information will be useful for both national and international regulators, and the various sectors of the food industry. The study provides useful information about likely public reaction to new EU labelling and traceability regulations.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 107 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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Article
Publication date: 23 March 2010

Swaroop V. Kher, Lynn J. Frewer, Janneke De Jonge, Meike Wentholt, Olivia Howell Davies, Niels B. Lucas Luijckx and Hilde J. Cnossen

The research presented in this paper aims at understanding the views of European food risk management experts on food traceability implementation, implementation of the…

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1980

Abstract

Purpose

The research presented in this paper aims at understanding the views of European food risk management experts on food traceability implementation, implementation of the general food law, and the advantages the system can offer for effective risk mitigation.

Design/methodology/approach

Delphi methodology was applied to understand experts ' views on the efficiency of existing traceability systems in Europe following the implementation of the General Food Law. An internet survey was administered in two rounds, in order to elicit expert views on changes needed to current traceability practices, if traceability systems are to contribute to improved food safety.

Findings

Traceability was considered to be an effective safety- and quality-monitoring system with potential to improve safety within food chains, as well as increasing consumer confidence in food safety and consumer protection. However, the results underlined the need for further improvements, particularly regarding the definition of food chain traceability, enforcement of regulations, and harmonisation of practice.

Research limitations/implications

Expert opinion regarding food traceability and its implementation was confined to Europe and the impact of European legislation. Further research at a global level is needed, given the need to trace food and food ingredients across the regional boundaries imposed by European legislation, the increased globalisation of food chains, and the need for pan-global harmonisation of food traceability legislation.

Originality/value

The results provide important insights into the advantages and shortcomings of the present European traceability approach enshrined in the European General Food Law.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 112 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 26 September 2008

Wendy van Rijswijk and Lynn J. Frewer

The research presented here aims to gain understanding of consumers' perceptions of the concepts of food quality and safety, two concepts that play an important role in…

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10076

Abstract

Purpose

The research presented here aims to gain understanding of consumers' perceptions of the concepts of food quality and safety, two concepts that play an important role in how consumers perceive food, and that are used in decision making.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative semi‐structured interviews (n=163 consumers) were held in four European countries (Germany, France, Italy and Spain). Consumers' own definitions of the two concepts of food quality and safety were examined, together with the perceived interrelationship between quality and safety, and whether these concepts were linked to improved food chain traceability.

Findings

The results indicate that most consumers see food quality and food safety as interlinked concepts, which becomes evident in their partly overlapping definitions of the two concepts. Consumers believe both food safety and quality are important to food in general, but pay relatively more attention to food quality when purchasing a product. Traceability was linked not only to food safety, but also to food quality in the mind of the consumer.

Research limitations/implications

Future research on consumer perceptions of food quality and safety will need to take account of the observation that these concepts are strongly related in consumers' minds, and therefore cannot be easily separated in explaining consumer choices.

Originality/value

Instead of investigating consumer perceptions of food quality and safety in relation to specific products, consumer perceptions of food quality and food safety in general, and how these were related to each other, were studied. Further understanding was gained of how consumers might use these concepts in judgements about food, which, in turn may influence their purchase decisions.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 110 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

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