Sustainability key for seafood lovers, research reveals

18 June 2020, 09:54 AM
  • New poll by Marine Stewardship Council shows increasing concern over the health of the oceans is leading to consumers making more conscious choices

Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the sustainability of seafood, according to new research by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

A poll by independent insights consultancy GlobeScan surveyed 20,000 shoppers across 23 countries, including 600 UK consumers. The results revealed that 58% of people have already changed the way they choose and buy seafood in the last year in an effort to protect fish in our oceans. Efforts have included switching to a brand or product that said it helped the oceans or fish (23%), buying different seafood species (17%) and changing where they buy seafood (15%). What’s more, 31% of those polled are worried that their favourite fish will be off the menu by 2040.

It comes as consumers show “high levels of concern” over the state of the ocean, and seek to make more sustainable choices that have a lower impact.

The results were published to coincide with World Oceans Day in June, when the NGO also launched its new Little Blue Label, Big Blue Future marketing campaign in a bid to encourage more shoppers to switch to seafood certified to its ‘blue label’ standard.

Rupert Howes, chief executive at the MSC, said: “With overfishing, climate change and pollution putting increasing pressure on our oceans, the choices we make as consumers have never been more important. This survey shows people really do care where their seafood comes from and how it is sourced.

“At a time when the seafood industry is facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we can all play a part in supporting fishers committed to sustainable practices, helping to protect marine ecosystems and safeguarding our seafood supplies for future generations. Choose certified sustainable seafood by looking out for the blue MSC label.”

It’s not only seafood that consumers are concerned about today, particularly following the coronavirus pandemic. Organic and sustainable foods have seen a massive boost during the pandemic as people become increasingly concerned about the impact of their food choices on their health as well as the environment. Organic fruit and veg boxes have surged in popularity; the plant-based food market is growing in value as people look to reduce their meat consumption to minimise their impact on the planet; and independent brands such as Delamere Dairy are also doing their part to reduce their impact by creating sustainable cycles in their production process.

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