New innovations in agricultural biotech: Consumer acceptance of topical RNAi in rice production

Aaron M. Shew, Diana M. Danforth, Lawton L. Nalley, Rodolfo M. Nayga, Francis Tsiboe, Bruce L. Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


To test the market viability of a non-GMO topical RNAi insect control, we conducted a Willingness-To-Pay (WTP) survey in the USA, Canada, Australia, France, and Belgium to elicit whether consumers need a premium or discount for: (1) a hypothetical GMO rice variety using the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) gene for insect control; and (2) a hypothetical non-GMO rice variety using topical RNAi spray for insect control. The survey was designed based on a Multiple Price List (MPL) format where respondents selected their preferred insect control technology; i.e., conventional, GMO Bt, or non-GMO RNAi, at different prices. Participants’ responses were analyzed using an interval regression model to generate WTP premiums and discounts for each country with control variables for demographic influences. Further, we asked consumers their Willingness-To-Consume (WTC) food produced with GM and RNAi technologies respectively and evaluated WTC differences using a McNemar matched pairs test in each country. The results from our study clearly show that: (1) consumers in the USA, Canada, Australia, and France still require a discount for rice produced with topical RNAi compared to conventionally-produced rice (p < 0.05), (2) consumers in the USA, Canada, Australia, France, and Belgium would need an additional 30–40% discount to purchase Bt rice over rice produced with topical RNAi (p < 0.05), and (3) consumers in all countries were more willing to consume rice produced with non-GM RNAi than with GM Bt technology (p < 0.05). These findings suggest consumers differentiate among biotechnology solutions and consumers may prefer topical RNAi insect control to transgenic GMO insecticides.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-195
Number of pages7
JournalFood Control
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program [Grant No. DGE-1450079].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Agricultural biotechnology
  • GMOs
  • Insect control
  • RNAi
  • Rice
  • Willingness-to-pay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science


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