Major achievements in CONSUMERSURVEY

Seafood Consumption: Explaining attitudes, preferences and eating habits across consumer segments in Europe

Major achievements in 2005

So far both qualitative focus group interviews in Spain and Belgium as well as a major cross-cultural survey have been carried out in five European countries: The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Denmark and Poland. Based on the qualitative results about consumer motives and barriers for seafood consumption from focus groups and consumer behaviour models, scales were developed and applied in the survey to measure key constructs: Consumers’ perception of the most important barriers for eating more seafood; consumers’ knowledge of health, risk and safety issues in relation to seafood; consumers’ perception and use of quality indications for judging seafood quality, e.g. freshness and other sensory characteristics; consumers’ attitudes towards farmed versus fresh seafood and towards convenience aspects like ready-made meals; and consumers’ knowledge on handling and cooking of fish. The survey was conducted in collaboration with project 2.3 SEA-INFOCOM, and thus covered additional aspects of relevance to this project as well.


Based on the extensive data pool covering responses from a total of 4,786 consumers, a number of analyses have been carried out in 2005 providing interesting results about consumer habits and attitudes in relation to fish and seafood. There are quite large differences in consumption between the countries, but fish is mainly consumed at home in all countries. Spain has by far the highest fish consumption with the average about 2.5 times a week, almost twice as often as Denmark, which had the second highest consumption. The Netherlands and Belgium had the lowest consumption rates, with a consumption frequency down to once a week on average. Futhermore, there seems to be widespread confusion among people in all countries about whether the fish they consume is actually wild or farmed, and there are large discrepancies in reported total fish consumption frequency and reported consumption of wild and farmed fish. It seems, however, that the confusion about wild and farmed fish increases with age, since the reported consumption of wild fish decreases with increasing age, which is the opposite trend compared to reported overall fish consumption. The data shows that on average the consumption of fish increases with increasing age in all countries except Poland where differences in consumption frequencies were not significant across age groups. The finding of increasing fish consumption as age increases confirms earlier European studies of fish consumption. Also the preference for fish species varies quite a lot between the countries. In Belgium, cod and salmon are the most frequently consumed species, while the Danish seem to prefer herring and tuna. In The Netherlands, tuna and salmon are most frequently eaten, in Poland it is herring and mackerel, and in Spain, tuna and hake are preferred. Herring seems to be most popular among the older consumers, while tuna was most often eaten by the youngest.


Finally, the issue of segmentation has been explored countrywise by means of structural equation modelling in order to estimate determinants of consumer behaviour and decision making in relation to fish in the five countries. The analysis reveal that consumers in the five countries differ in relation to what has the greatest influence on intentions to buy fish – from health perception and knowledge about fish and preparation, cooking skills and liking of fish in some countries to the extent of perceived problems in relation to fish which is a major barrier in other countries. In order to explore these similarities and differences further analysis will be carried out in 2006.

See News item

European consumer interest in seafood information and traceability 11-11-2005

The SEAFOODplus project 2.3 SEAINFOCOM aims at assessing European consumer’s needs for seafood information and the development of effective seafood communication. A major part of the activities focus on assessing consumer interest in information and traceability. Exploratory insights were gained from focus group discussions with consumers in Spain and Belgium during May 2004. Quantitative data (n=4,786 respondents) were collected in November – December 2004 from representative consumer samples in Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain and Poland, jointly with project 2.1 CONSUMERSURVEY


How much do European consumers know and believe to know about fish? 20-10-05

The SEAFOODplus project 2.3 SEA-INFOCOM aims at assessing European consumer’s needs for seafood information and the development of effective seafood communication. A logical first step was to gain insights in consumer’s current knowledge about fish and the associations between knowledge and behavioural patterns. Quantitative data (n=4,786 respondents) were collected from representative consumer samples in Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain and Poland, jointly with project 2.1 CONSUMERSURVEY

On the average European fish consumption is below recommended levels 14-10-05

The SEAFOODplus project 2.1. CONSUMERSURVEY aims at explaining seafood consrumption in 5 European countries: Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Poland and Spain. Questionnaires were sent to a representative sample of consumers in each country; and a total of 4786 valid questionnaires were returned and analyzed. This note reports the first descriptive results from the survey. Later, analysis explaining the differences between countries and segments will be reported.


Coordinator RTD pillar 2


MAPP, Denmark