Despite some hesitation about gene-edited foods, taste trumps everything, according to a Washington State University-led survey of U.S. consumers.

For a study published in the journal PLOS One (“Consumer acceptance of new plant-breeding technologies: An application to the use of gene editing in fresh table grapes”), researchers surveyed more than 2,800 people across the U.S. to assess how accepting they might be of gene-edited table grapes, even though none are yet on the market.

After taste, appearance ranked next in importance. Third was a preference for fewer pesticides and fourth a slight preference for traditionally bred grapes over gene-edited ones.

More than half of the survey participants said they knew the difference between the gene-editing technology CRISPR and genetic engineering but they couldn’t state what exactly that difference was.

The researchers segmented the participants into four groups depending on their level of acceptance of gene editing. One group, representing 22% of the participants, who were the most accepting of gene editing, were also the most informed and trusted many sources of information, ranking scientific sources the most highly. The group that most strongly rejected gene editing, about 16% of respondents, knew the least about the technology and had little trust in any sources of information including scientists, government and the media. The other two groups were seen as slightly or moderately rejecting gene editing.

Customers feel good about a company when its representatives make decisions in their favor, such as approving their loan application or granting upgraded member status. When an algorithm reaches the same favorable conclusion? Not so much.

In a Journal of Marketing Research paper (“Thumbs up or down: consumer reactions to decisions by algorithms versus humans”) examining how customers react differently depending on whether a computer...