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European consumer image of farmed fish, wild fish, seabass and seabream

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  • Communication

Abstract

Increasing fish demand has made aquaculture a necessary complement of fisheries. Consumer acceptance is crucial for market success of aquaculture produce. The present study has investigated the image European consumers have in relation to farmed fish, wild fish, fish as a generic food category and seabass and seabream as the two main cultured species in the European Union (EU). The study aimed to improve current knowledge and bridge geographical gaps with respect to image studies in Europe. In a first exploratory phase, topic-related information was gathered through direct contacts with main stakeholders in different EU countries and through an electronic literature research. In a second phase quantitative descriptive data were collected through cross-sectional consumer surveys in eight EU countries. These were selected to cover the knowledge gaps identified in the exploratory phase, and to cover the different European geographical areas. The country selection was expanded to include the main producer of seabass and seabream, the main importer and some possible target markets. Total sample size was 3,213 respondents. Samples were representative of age and region. European consumers have a very positive image of fish products, especially with respect to its health benefits. Fish origin appeared to be of limited importance; however, wild fish were preferred when compared with farmed fish. Seabass and seabream received positive image scores. Combined with the positive health image of the Mediterranean diet, this could offer marketing opportunities for these fish species.

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