Folate biofortified rice is recently developed as a future strategy to reduce folate deficiency, particularly in poor, rural high risk regions, like Shanxi Province. Although 62% of rice consumers in this Chinese region are likely to accept this GM product, biofortification could negatively change product attributes, which may hamper acceptance. The results of this ex–ante evaluation show that when the taste, the environmental impact or the price of folate biofortified rice would be negatively altered, the initial acceptance rate would be more or less halved. Based on a survey with 588 consumers, four different segments could be identified: 'Traditional attribute buyers' (17.9%), 'Price and availability consciousness' (20.2%), 'Intrinsic attribute buyers' (27.4%) and 'Health seekers' (34.5%). Although there is a market for folate biofortified rice in Shanxi Province, future research and development need to take into account the importance of potential attribute changes to further ensure the acceptance rate.
Keywords: biofortification, genetic modification, GM crops, genetic modified crops, folate biofortified rice, folate deficiency, neural–tube defects, rice attributes, consumer acceptance, China, product attributes, consumer perceptions, poor areas, rural areas, high risk areas, poverty, taste, environmental impact, food prices