Consumers rate seafood sustainability over price

13 Jul 2016
Sustainability is a key driver when it comes to buying seafood © MSC/Heiner H. Schmitt

Sustainability is a key driver when it comes to buying seafood © MSC/Heiner H. Schmitt

Sustainability is a key driver when it comes to buying seafood, new research has found.

According to the consumer perceptions survey - the largest ever global analysis of attitudes to seafood consumption, where over 16,000 seafood consumers in 21 countries took part in the research - sustainability is rated more highly than price and brand, with nearly three-quarters (72%) of seafood consumers agreeing that in order to save the oceans, shoppers should only consume seafood from sustainable sources.

With over four in five (85%) households purchasing seafood regularly, concern about ocean sustainability is influencing shoppers’ actions. 68% said people should be prepared to switch to more sustainable seafood.

Older consumers demonstrate a greater concern for sustainability. 75% of seafood consumers aged 55 and over agreed with the need to eat seafood only from sustainable sources, compared with 67% of 18 to 34 year olds.

“These insights demonstrate that seafood consumers are attuned to the need for sustainability and that they are prepared to change shopping habits to protect the oceans. Citizens feel empowered to vote for sustainability with their wallets”, said MSC CEO, Rupert Howes.

More than two-thirds (68%) of those surveyed said there is a need for brands and supermarkets to independently verify their claims about sustainability, with 62% agreeing that by buying ecolabelled seafood they are helping to ensure plenty more fish for future generations. The same number agreed that ecolabels on seafood products raise their trust and confidence in the brand.

More than half (54%) of seafood consumers said they are prepared to pay more for a certified sustainable seafood product. Those who have seen the MSC label place the value of the MSC label at an average premium of 11% globally.

The survey was carried out between January and February 2016 using large and reliable national consumer research online panels to recruit respondents, with a minimum of 600 seafood consumers surveyed per country.

Consumers in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA took part.

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