Consumers Changing Attitude to Transgenic Tomatoes?

Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, vitamin C, vitamin E,
and carotenoids. However, tomatoes have relatively small amounts
of flavonoids compared with other vegetables. The flavonoids are
a subclass of plant polyphenols, which have shown to have healthpromoting
effects. Genetic engineering has been used to enhance
the flavonoid content of fruits and vegetables. For example, a
single CHI gene from Petunia hybrida suffices to increase flavonol
content in tomato peel, while Delilah (Del) and Rosea1 (Ros1)
genes extracted from snapdragon were stacked and introduced to
tomatoes, resulting in an increased anthocyanin content and purple
colored tomato peel.
Consumers, however, generally have formed negative but
vague perceptions of transgenic foods which prevent them from
knowingly purchasing such products. Researchers at Kansas State
Univ. evaluated how the color, flavor, texture, and overall liking of
transgenic tomatoes with enhanced flavonoid content compared
to wild-type tomatoes were evaluated by an untrained consumer
The researchers indicate that although recent studies reflect a
new willingness on the part of consumers to buy transgenic vegetables,
almost no attempts have been made to conduct consumer
taste tests with transgenic tomatoes. The few tests that have been
conducted involved transgenic tomatoes thatwere tested by trained
professionals or small consumer groups with no controls for differences
in sample demographics. This study used an untrained
consumer panel to score flavor and overall liking of between 2
transgenic tomatoes and wild-type tomatoes. The panel reported
no difference in liking of texture or color between the 3 tomatoes.
After participating in the sensory study, 14% of the panelists
changed their attitudes positively toward transgenic vegetables and
96% of the consumers on the panel reported that they would buy
transgenic food if they believed that it would promote health.

For more, see Consumer Sensory Analysis of High Flavonoid Transgenic Tomatoes


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