Consumer preferences and attitudes influence the development of aquaculture, and particularly animal and environmental friendly food production has gained more public interest in recent years. Emphasis has been placed on enforcement of regulation and governance of aquaculture. One of the aspects that have been under discussion is animal welfare in farmed fish production. It is important to study whether different treatments of fish related to welfare have significant influences on the sensory quality of the products, which could result in different consumer preferences. One of the high-lights of the year 2007 were data handling and analysing results from ETHICOD, a huge collaborative consumer study between three projects in pillar 2 and a project in pillar 5 using sensory evaluation of fish and consumer research using the same fish in different countries. Furthermore dissemination of the results is now on-going. The data set collected is enormous and will be a basis for various statistical analyses both on sensory attributes of the various products, consumer preference and attitudes in different countries and the impact of ethical information given to consumers.
Furthermore, consumer studies have been planned and performed in several countries, amongst others The Netherlands and Iceland (project 2.2, 2.4, 5.2). An exchange visit aimed to exchange information on the necessary expertises and facilities, to agree on common approaches, and to integrate analyses of different data types was made. Combining the different types of data analyses result in more sophisticated findings, thus getting more out of the available SEAFOODplus data.
The first Sensory Quality Model developed, in WP2.2.2, is applied in the last phases of the project. It is expected that the model will be directly applicable in product development, storage and distribution and marketing of seafood, and SME’s and other seafood industry will be invited to participate. The results of the project will lead to improvement of the eating quality of seafood available to consumers, and in collaboration with partners in other SEAFOODplus Pillar 2 projects, consumers will be informed of this improvement in quality in an appropriate way, leading to increased seafood consumption and ultimately to improved nutritional status and health.
All partners collaborated in writing a book chapter ‘Improved eating quality of seafood - the link between sensory characteristics, consumer liking and attitudes’ in the SEAFOODplus book ‘Improving seafood products for the consumer’ published by Woodhead Publishing Company and with Torger Børresen