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Education drives sustainable seafood sales

January 21, 2020


– Grocery Dive

Growing consumer awareness of issues related to overfishing and ocean health is fueling demand for sustainable fish and seafood. However, a recent survey by Blue Circle Foods revealed that consumers are conflicted about seafood options. While they are concerned about sourcing and prefer to buy certified sustainable seafood, pricing is a dominant factor in their purchasing decisions. Educating shoppers about the benefits of supporting responsible practices is key to increasing sales.

According to Coherent Market Insights, by 2025 the global sustainable seafood market will be over US $18.63 billion. With a growing dependency on seafood for economic and health reasons, and more than 50% of global seafood consumption sourced via aquaculture, there is a pressing need to use responsible methods to source fish for consumption, protect ocean ecosystems and preserve wild fish populations.

Data from Blue Circle Foods’ Sept 2019 survey shows overwhelming consumer concern about contaminants, ocean pollution and overfishing, highlighting an opportunity for retailers to meet seafood demand with responsibly raised options.

Identifying key insights about purchasing habits, the survey polled 300 US consumers.  78% of respondents had purchased fish or seafood at least once in the previous month. Data revealed that shoppers think fish and seafood are more sustainable, and healthier than land-based pork, beef and grains, and just as healthy as vegetables. 84% believe fish and other seafood to be an important part of a balanced diet.

What concerns shoppers most?  

  • 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

Price dominated the list of ranked attributes that affect purchasing decisions, but shoppers clearly indicated that where seafood is sourced from, and whether it contains contaminants such as mercury and PCBs, are critical concerns.

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