Consumers prefer sustainable seafood

A new global survey reveals nearly three-quarters of consumers agree that shoppers should only consume seafood from sustainable sources in order to save the oceans.

New independent research commissioned by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) reveals that 72 per cent of consumers rate sustainability higher than price and brand when buying fish and seafood.

According to an MSC statement on the consumer perception survey, this high figure stands in contrast to purchasing motivations among shoppers of other consumer goods, where price and brand typically outrank sustainability in driving purchase decisions.

Over 16,000 seafood consumers in 21 countries took part in the survey. 68 per cent of those surveyed said people should be prepared to switch to more sustainable seafood. Older consumers were more concerned with sustainability: 75 per cent of seafood consumers aged 55 and over prioritised eating seafood only from sustainable sources, compared with 67 per cent of 18 to 34 year olds.

Eco-labels play a large role in seafood consumer habits, with 62 per cent of those surveyed saying that buying eco-labelled seafood helps ensure fish for future generations. The same number agreed that eco-labels raise their trust and confidence in a brand.

More than half (54 per cent) of seafood consumers said they are prepared to pay a premium for a certified sustainable seafood product – up to 11 per cent more for the MSC label.

The MSC label also enjoys widespread recognition worldwide. While only 10 per cent of the world’s wild-caught seafood comes from MSC-certified fishers, 37 per cent of those surveyed are familiar with the MSC ecolabel. Awareness varies across the different countries surveyed, from 13 per cent in Canada to an impressive 71 per cent in Switzerland. Of those familiar with the blue MSC label, more than six in ten are likely to recommend it to people they know.

“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.


Image credit: Wouter Schuddebeurs, flickr/Creative Commons

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