The Fourth SEAFOODplus Conference

Bilbao 04-06-07 to 08-06-07


Award for the best presentation

As for previous SEAFOODplus conferences, an award was presented to the best speaker at the Open Conference. The award was announced at the end of Session 4.


This year the award was presented to Zuzanna Pieniak from Department of Agriculture and Economics, Ghent University, Belgium, for her presentation 'Health beliefs as drivers to seafood consumption'. Zuzanna is a participant in Project 2.3 SEA-INFOCOM.


The evaluation criteria had been communicated to the speakers before the conference, so they could pay attention to it while preparing their presentation, and a special training workshop was offered to the SEAFOODplus speakers 21-22 May 2007 in Copenhagen. Zuzanna was a participant in this workshop.


All presentations were carefully judged by an award jury consisting of Jörg Oehlenschläger (chairman), Ellinor Helland from BioMar and journalist Manfred Klinkhardt. In his speech at the presentation the chairman expressed that all speakers at the conference had performed with great enthusiasm and a lot of hard work had been made for preparing each presentation. It had thus been a very difficult job to select the best presentation. However, the award winner, Zuzanna Pieniak, had mastered the good balance of paying due attention to the scientific contents in her presentation while still being able to make the rather complex results easily understood by the audience. The challenge of making the message clear to an audience not being experts within the scientific area, and particularly addressing the seafood industry, had been met by arranging a special training workshop before the Bilbao meeting. By listening to the exciting presentation of Zuzanna the result of the training had been very successful, professor Oehlenschläger concluded.


All award gifts for the best presentation at the SEAFOODplus conferences has been related to seafood and fish. This is also the case with the award this year. It has been created by the Danish ceramic artist Birgit Krogh and is created by applying the raku technique. For further description and information about the artist see






The presentation:

Health beliefs as drivers to seafood consumption

Presenting author: Zuzanna Pieniak (1) co-authors: Wim Verbeke (1), Joachim Scolderer (2) and Karen Brunsø (2)

(1) Department of Agricultural Economics, Ghent University. Belgium

(2) MAPP, Aarhus School of Business, University of Aarhus, Denmark


Selected slides from the presentation:



The main objective of SEA-INFOCOM is to assess consumer’s needs for seafood information and to develop effective seafood communication related to traceability, health, safety and ethical issues. The project is led by Ghent University in Belgium, and has partners in Denmark (MAPP) and Norway (NIFA).


Physical properties, such as bones, smell, and taste, price, availability, influence of referent people and personal factors like age, gender, and region are only a few of the factors that influence seafood consumption. Fish, regardless the species is considered to be a very healthy product and the consumption of fish is perceived as essential to obtain a balanced diet. Nevertheless, dietary recommendations of eating fish twice a week are not met by a large group of consumers in many countries. Results from the consumer survey carried out in Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain and Poland indicated that health beliefs, such as health involvement, interest in healthy eating, subjective health (how individuals evaluate their own health) and people’s satisfaction with their own life may be important in the development of effective strategies for stimulating seafood communication.


In general, people were found to be very involved with health and very interested in healthy eating. However, significant differences in the health beliefs existed between countries. Danish respondents evaluated themselves as the healthiest and the most satisfied with their life; Polish respondents were the most interested in healthy eating, whereas Belgian respondents were the most involved in health. Interestingly, Spanish respondents did not score the highest on any of the health beliefs, although they reported the highest fish consumption. This could imply that fish consumption in Spain is rather a habit, a tradition of eating fish as a part of a Mediterranean diet, than a consequence of health belief. Further analysis showed that consumption of fish seemed to be dependent on consumers’ interest in healthy eating and risk perception of food poisoning from eating fish. On the other hand, total fish consumption, together with interest in healthy eating, health involvement and risk perception influenced self-rated consumers’ health. This means that people who ate more fish, those who were more interested in healthy eating, and more involved in their health, would feel themselves as healthier, whereas those consumers who perceived higher risk of food poisoning from eating fish would feel themselves as less healthy.


Although medical information sources are highly trusted, they are not really utilised with regard to fish information by consumers. Health benefits, safety guarantee and quality mark are the most wanted fish information cues for respondents interested in healthy eating and involved with health in general.


Attention outside SEAFOODplus:

Being a SEAFOODplus award winner creates attention among other organisers of conferences and meetings. Thus, Zuzanna was invited to a Norwegian seafood conference in October 2007 (website in Norwegian only):