Survey: Price offsets sustainability for fish
Price is still the biggest purchasing influencer for U.S. consumers when it comes to fish, despite their influx of concern for where fish comes from and what is in the product, according to a recent Blue Foods Circle survey, a sustainably sourced fishing company.
Data from the survey, conducted in September, reveals overwhelming concern about contaminants, ocean pollution and overfishing. Shoppers indicated a strong preference for fish and seafood that is certified sustainable; however, cost still topped consumers’ priorities.
According to the survey, 78% of respondents had purchased fish or seafood at least once in the previous month, with most believing that fish and other seafood are more sustainable than land-based meats such as poultry, beef and pork. The survey also showed that most shoppers think fish and seafood are healthier than pork, beef and grains, and just as healthy as vegetables, with 84% believing fish and other seafood to be an important part of a balanced diet.
Although price led the list of ranked attributes that affect purchasing decisions, shoppers clearly indicated that where their seafood is sourced from, and whether it contains contaminants such as mercury and PCBs, are critical concerns. Interestingly, while they mirror concerns identified by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which suggests that fears over methylmercury pollution have led to a decline in U.S. families feeding fish to children, the survey revealed positive attitudes towards seafood:
• 47% of shoppers had offered their children seafood by age five.
• 82% of children had eaten fish or seafood by age 10 or earlier.
• 83% of shoppers agreed their children enjoyed eating fish and other seafood.
• 72% of shoppers believe their children are eating enough fish and seafood.
“This survey confirms consumers’ chief concerns and provides us with a great opportunity, particularly during National Seafood Month, to help them make choices they can feel good about when buying fish,” says Nina Damato, supply chain manager at Blue Circle Foods.
The survey also revealed the primary concerns of shoppers when it comes to fish:
• 90% of shoppers are concerned about contaminants like mercury in fish and seafood.
• 88% are concerned about ocean pollution.
• 86% are worried about the extinction of wild fish species.
• 83% are concerned about seafood mislabeling.