SSRN Electronic Journal
A systems map showing key components, stages, and the links between underlying values, expressed attitudes and actual behaviors involving consumer acceptance of agrifood nanotechnology has been developed. The purpose of the study was to use systems mapping to examine and analyze critical links between consumer acceptance of agrifood nanotechnology and other factors such as trust, stakeholders, institutions, knowledge, and human environmental health risks. The study used evidence review of the literature and experts’ opinion in developing this systems map. This study is the 1st to quantitatively rank barriers to commercialization of agrifood nanotechnology from experts’ perspective. Public attitudes and perceptions, and consumer acceptance; regulatory uncertainty; and, health and safety respectively are the most identified barriers in the literature and the results obtained from the value elicitation from experts compares favorably with evidence from the literature. This study is based on theory that accounts for the dynamic aspects of systems modeling, risk perception, and consumer acceptance. The research was done in four stages: The review of the literature to determine the key policy and programmatic intervention points in consumer acceptance of food nanotechnology applications and products as suggested by historical experience with other emerging technologies in agriculture and food; elicitation of experts opinion regarding the attributes that affect consumer attitudes toward agrifood nanotechnology products and applications; comparative analysis of the literature and experts opinion on the interactions between stocks & flows, consumers, processes, and institutions; and a systems modeling/mapping of consumer acceptance of agrifood nanotechnologies. The systems dynamics approach and the resulting systems map, though much simplified, have crucial implications in respect to consumer acceptance of agrifood nanotechnology. It is clear that factors affecting consumer acceptance of agrifood nanotechnology are dynamic, complex, interactive, and interdependent; and that consumer decision to accept agrifood nanotechnology is the results of complex feedback structure. This study therefore makes several policy recommendations with the overriding major issue being whether stakeholders in the agrifood system can cooperate and take specific steps toward reducing or eliminating consumer acceptance as a barrier to commercialization of agrifood nanotechnology innovation.Thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Minnesota.