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83 per cent of seafood consumers worldwide thinks we must protect resources for future generations. (Image: MSC)

About 72pct of seafood consumers demands sustainability from supermarkets, according to MSC

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Tuesday, August 07, 2018, 02:50 (GMT + 9)

A survey in which 25,000 seafood consumers in 22 countries participated revealed that 72 per cent of those surveyed are increasingly demanding independent verification of sustainability claims in supermarkets compared to 68 per cent shown in a prior survey conducted in 2016.

According to the study, commissioned by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to the leading research agency GlobeScan, 70 per cent of seafood consumers worldwide say that they would like to hear more from companies about the sustainability of their seafood.

A separate 2016 study from Nielsen, also commissioned by the MSC, shows that companies that invest in independent labelling and do effective consumer communications outperform their competitors by 4 per cent.

However, the MSC highlights that a notable change from the first study in 2016, is that consumers globally have started putting price before sustainability as a motivator of their seafood purchase decisions.

The study reveals a surprising gender divide on this issue, with men more motivated by price and women seeing sustainability as more important. Consumers in some countries (Germany, Austria, China, Spain, UK, Switzerland, Italy and Sweden) still place sustainability above price, regardless of their age or gender.

"This survey shows that consumers really do care about the oceans, but with so much confusion about how consumers can help, it’s more important than ever to cut through the clutter and deliver an easy way for people to choose sustainable seafood,” pointed out MSC Head of Marketing Richard Stobart.

Stobart explains that with a rising consumer focus on price, and the finding that worldwide more than half of consumers report eating seafood weekly, it is critically important that they have a range of clearly labelled sustainable options at the right price point.

The survey shows that in a climate of persistently low consumer trust in business globally, trust in the blue MSC label remains high at 69 per cent and understanding of the label has increased on average to 37 per cent globally, up from 32 per cent in 2016.

Younger consumers are even more tuned in to choosing sustainable seafood, with 41 per cent of 18-34 year olds understanding what the MSC label means. Consumers also rate certification organisations third (after NGOs and scientists) for their contribution to protecting the oceans, with governments and large companies rated as contributing the least.

Of those aware of the MSC label, 79 per cent agree that the MSC is helping to ensure that fishers maintain healthy fish stocks and protect marine life.

GlobeScan’s tracking of consumer attitudes and beliefs shows that the proportion of people who believe their children and grandchildren will have a better quality of life than them has continued to drop since the start of the millennium.

The MSC-commissioned research reflects this concern for the future, with 83 per cent of seafood consumers globally, agreeing that it is necessary to protect seafood for future generations. 81 per cent of those aware of the MSC believe it has a key role to play in achieving this.

Globally, consumers are united in thinking that the biggest threat to the oceans is pollution, followed by overfishing. Younger consumers (18-34) show a slightly different profile, eating less seafood on average and being more worried about the effects of climate change on the oceans than their older counterparts.
 


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