Health and sustainability of fish have consumers hooked — but they buy on price

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Dive Brief:

  • Sustainable seafood firm Blue Circle Foods mentioned an internet survey final month of 313 folks discovered “overwhelming concern” about seafood sources, contaminants, ocean air pollution and overfishing — but price topped the record of components affecting their buying selections.

  • The survey discovered 90% are fearful about mercury contamination in fish and different seafood, 88% about ocean air pollution, 86% concerning the extinction of wild fish species and 83% about seafood mislabeling, Blue Circle mentioned.

  • The firm famous whereas issues about air pollution have lowered the quantity of U.S. households feeding fish to youngsters, the survey additionally discovered optimistic attitudes towards seafood. More than three-quarters had bought seafood at the least as soon as within the earlier month, and most mentioned the merchandise are extra sustainable than poultry, beef and pork.

Dive Insight:

Given {that a} sustainable seafood firm sponsored this on-line survey — and that there have been solely 313 respondents — the boldness stage within the findings could possibly be greater. Still, the outcomes could also be helpful as an indicator of shopper attitudes towards seafood purchases at a time when information about contamination, overfishing and ocean air pollution is widespread.

Blue Ocean, which sells sustainable farm-raised and wild-caught fish and ensures 100% traceability and third-party certification, could possibly be inspired by what number of buyers are shopping for and making ready fish and different seafood for his or her youngsters. The survey confirmed 83% say their youngsters loved such merchandise, and 82% of youngsters had eaten seafood by age 10 or youthful, the corporate mentioned.

Some of these consuming habits might stem from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ advice that youngsters and pregnant and breastfeeding girls eat one to 2 servings of fish weekly. The group says seafood offers protein, and many sorts comprise vitamin D, calcium and omega-Three fatty acids. However, the group famous the quantity of fish youngsters ought to eat varies by age, and sure species ought to be averted as a result of of the likelihood of mercury contamination.

Regardless of such issues, consumers proceed to view seafood as a extra sustainable alternative than meat and poultry. They additionally suppose fish and different seafood are more healthy than pork, beef and grains, and as wholesome as greens, Blue Ocean mentioned.

It’s not stunning that consumers on this survey imagine fish and different seafood are more healthy than pork and beef. According to Cargill’s 2018 Feed4Thought survey, 44% of U.S. and U.K. consumers have added extra fish to their diets prior to now 5 years — with well being causes being the principle motivator. In land-based meats, cases of E. coli contamination and different issues are well-publicized, and environmental issues inherent in animal agriculture are being extensively mentioned. 

The seafood business can improve its attraction by focusing on sustainability and transparency, in addition to emphasizing the protein, nutritional vitamins and minerals fish present. That might not silence the siren tune of plant-based options, that are rising by leaps and bounds and whose producers do not have to reply to issues about sustainability, air pollution and overproduction.

Plant-based tuna from Good Catch Foods is a working example. The New York firm mentioned its merchandise keep away from excessive mercury ranges, PCBs, dioxins and different contaminants present in ocean-based fish and ailments and different issues from manufacturing facility fish farming and aquaculture.

Meanwhile, builders of cell-based seafood are working exhausting to get their merchandise to market, the place they hope to disrupt the traditional fishing business. San Diego startup Blue Nalu not too long ago launched a commercialization technique and facility design schematics for large-scale manufacturing of seafood utilizing mobile agriculture. Wild Type is working on cell-based salmon, whereas Finless Foods is creating lab-grown bluefin tuna. Globally, 27 cell-based firms wish to faucet into the phase, in response to a examine from The Good Food Institute.

Whether these choices achieve momentum within the close to future stays to be seen, but it is clear consumers need to see extra sustainability and traceability in every part they eat — not simply in seafood. The query is when price will now not be their prime motivating issue.

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