UK sees ‘alternative’ fish sales soar
Sainsbury’s has seen sales of seabass, fresh pollack, trout and tilapia increase
Sainsbury's has launched a new study into fish consumption and attitudes in the UK, which shows a shift in consumer buying habits as more people purchase lesser known fish which are more abundant in the oceans.
Following a year of high profile awareness campaigns of sustainable fish, including the supermarket’s own Switch the Fish initiative, a shift in fish buying habits has resulted in sales increasing across species including:
- Seabass +57%
- Fresh pollack +15%
- Trout +29%
- Tilapia +117%
The Our future with fish report, commissioned by Sainsbury's and produced by the Future Foundation, predicts that this trend is set to continue as consumers make more informed and sustainable choices around the fish they eat. By 2030 over half (52%) of all fish products sold will be outside of the UK's most popular Big 5 species (cod, haddock, tuna, salmon and prawns).
The report also reveals that the population will be eating more fish, with UK adults set to eat 12 extra fish meals a year by 2030 increasing their weekly consumption by 17% (from under 8 million kilograms today to 9.23 million kilograms by 2030). The so-called tradition Fish Friday is set to continue as meals have increased by 4.4% since 2008 and are predicted to rise from one-in-five today (21%) to one-in-four (25%) in the next 10 years.
The Our future with fish report found that one of the primary drivers for increasing UK fish consumption is personal well-being, with 51% of people stating that health concerns have encouraged them to eat more fish over the last year. However the report also identified some of the key barriers to current fish consumption levels in the UK, these include a lack of recipe knowledge (35%), lack of availability of fresh fish in local shops (28%) and lack of time to prepare fish from scratch (28%).
Minster for the Natural Environment and Fisheries, Richard Benyon MP said: "The UK is leading the way internationally to make sure that our seas and fish stocks stay healthy, and I'm delighted to see Sainsbury's hard work has resulted in a demonstrable change in consumer behaviour.”
However, he added that there is still important work to do in Europe to mend the broken common fisheries policy which has contributed to the depleted state of fish stocks, to ensure a secure supply of fish as a healthy food source, without destroying fish stocks and damaging the marine environment.
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