Major achievements in SEA-INFOCOM

SEAFOOD Information and Communication: Assessment of consumerís needs for seafood information and development of effective seafood communication

Major achievements in 2006

Specific measurement scales and methods have been developed and data collection has been made in collaboration with project 2.1 CONSUMERSURVEY, providing a huge dataset of 4,786 consumers. During 2006 further analyses have been carried out leading to interesting results. First, the results of the in-depth analysis of consumer interest in seafood traceability show that traceability can reassure existing heavy fish consumers, but probably not convince low frequent fish consumers to consume more. Those who are interested in seafood traceability, gather more information and want to acquire as much information as possible about fish. They have sufficient knowledge about and experience with fish and they are aware of this. Furthermore, they consume fish more frequently and show very positive attitudes towards fish in comparison with the consumers who are less interested in seafood traceability.

Second, use and trust in information sources has been associated with perceptual issues relating to health, safety and ethical matters. Therefore, respondents have been classified in three market segments depending on their use and trust in information sources about fish, and second, the resulting segments have been profiled in terms of perceptions and attitudes. Respondents who perceive eating fish as very healthy and nutritious, use mostly personal information sources and have substantial trust in both personal and health-related information sources about fish. They are first of all interested in the end product, and not particularly in the way fish was produced. Health benefits, safety guarantee and quality mark are the most important information cues for respondents interested in healthy eating and involved in health in general. Messages about health benefits from seafood consumption should be tested in order to see if they have a differential impact on individuals belonging to any of the clusters. We would expect that this kind of health benefit message would have a positive impact particularly on consumers belonging to third consumer segment, i.e. those who are interested in health-related information about fish.

The empirical findings from the consumer survey, as well as the insights obtained in the role and impact of seafood information,† will contribute to the experimental studies of the impact of health and/ versus safety information as well as ethical information performed in the later stage of the research.

Projectleader SEA-INFOCOM

Prof. Wim Verbeke

UGent, Belgium