During the last decades, the proportion of aquaculture products in the market place has increased dramatically and this trend seems to continue in the future as well. While both the producers of aquaculture products as well as the distribution channels are aware of this change in product composition, still little is known about the effect this has on consumer preferences and product choices. In connection with the SEAFOODplus project CONSUMERSURVEY, which aims at explaining seafood consumption, a major survey has been carried out in five European countries in order to achieve more knowledge about consumer preferences and choice in relation to fish in general as well as preferences for farmed and wild fish. Questionnaires were sent to a representative sample of consumers in 5 European countries: Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Poland and Spain, and a total of 4786 valid questionnaires were returned and analysed. Results show that there is widespread confusion regarding whether fish is wild or farmed. The data disclose large discrepancies in reported total fish consumption frequency as shown in Table 1 and reported consumption of wild and farmed fish as shown in table 2. From the total sample, 2.5% claim to never or seldom eat fish in general. About one third claim never to eat farmed fish, and also one third claims never to eat wild fish. Combining these, it turns out that 24.8% of the total sample claim neither to eat farmed nor wild 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. On average fresh wild fish is perceived to be of higher quality compared to farmed fish. On the other hand, fresh farmed fish is perceived to have a more consistent quality compared to fresh wild fish and to be more available and thus easier to purchase. Furthermore, when it comes to safety, consumers do not perceive any difference in relation to the safety of fresh wild fish and fresh farmed fish.
MAPP; SEAFOODplus; Akvakultur; Fisk og skaldyr; Aquaculture; Seafood