Public attitudes to emerging food technologies

A literature review to consolidate knowledge, from the UK and beyond, on public opinion about emerging food technologies, such as genetically modified food and crops, cloning, nanotechnologies, irradiation, functional foods, synthetic biology and novel food processes


The evidence review was carried out in order to bring together information about public opinions on emerging food technologies and ascertain what gaps there were in the research and consider how these might be filled.

The research looked at public opinion concerning:

  • nanotechnologies
  • functional foods
  • synthetic biology
  • GM food and crops
  • cloning
  • irradiation
  • novel food processes

The Agency’s social science research is compliant with the Government Social Research service (GSR) Code of Practice and these reports are published with the GSR logo.

Key findings

According to the research, GM and animal cloning remain the areas of most concern for people. However, the review also showed that food technologies tended not to be a burning issue for the vast majority of people and often did not generate strong opinions.