Barry K. Goodwin, Michele C. Marra, and Nicholas E. Piggott
North Carolina State University

We examine the consumer cost consequences of choosing GMO-free food over food that contains GMOs. Using text-mining algorithms applied to detailed product descriptions contained in a proprietary database of individual GMO and GMOfree foods at the retail level, we find that, when directly compared item by item, GMO-free food costs an average of 33% more than a comparable food item that is not GMO-free. When compared on a per-ounce basis, GMO-free foods cost an average of 73% more. Generalizing to the cost of a typical market basket of food consumed by American households, GMO-free food consumption would increase the average family food budget from $9,462 to $12,181 per year.

Key words: Biotechnology, consumer food choice, GMO-free, market basket.