Breakthroughs in Food Biotechnology and Consumer Responsiveness to Information


Breakthroughs in Food Biotechnology and Consumer Responsiveness to Information

Dr. David L. Ortega, Associate Professor, Michigan State University


Date: 18 November, 13:00 - 14:00

Location: Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School, 34 broad Street


Recent breakthroughs in biotechnology have expanded the range of genetic engineering applications in animal agriculture. Acceptance of food products from bio-engineered animals is expected to be controversial and requires a thorough understanding of consumer preferences and drivers of acceptance. I will discuss a framework based on Bayesian updating that allows us to predict which consumers are most responsive to information – namely those consumers whose pre-information choices reveal a high level of uncertainty surrounding their preferences. This talk will draw on data from consumer acceptance of a genetically modified pork product in the US (N=945), China (N=945) and Italy (N=954). Findings will be discussed in the context of recent breakthroughs in biotechnology including gene editing applications.


Dr. David Ortega is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University. His research spans a wide range of topics in domestic and global agrifood systems, and focuses on understanding consumer, producer and agribusiness decision-making to better inform food policies and agribusiness strategies. He has research experience in a number of developing and emerging countries including India, Malawi and Rwanda. Dr. Ortega’s work on China over the past ten years has focused on the economics of food quality and on evaluating emerging markets for U.S. agricultural products. He has published over 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals including the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, China Economic Review, Food Policy, World Development, and Trends in Food Science and Technology.

Dr. Ortega’s work has been funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. He has been a visiting scholar and instructor at China Agricultural University and Inner Mongolia Agricultural University in China.  He has presented his research at various organizations including the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (Rome), International Food Policy Research Institute, and various U.S. universities. Dr. Ortega holds a PhD and MS in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University, and a BS in Food and Resource Economics from the University of Florida.