MSC: Consumers spending more on eco-labeled fish

New research out of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands suggests that British and Dutch consumers are increasingly committed to buying sustainable seafood products, despite the economic downturn.

The research shows a 154 percent increase in consumer spending on sustainable seafood in the UK and a 50 percent increase in the Netherlands, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) reported on Monday.

Despite just 1 percent overall growth in household expenditures between 2007 and 2009, the sustainable-seafood sector flourished, with UK spending on sustainable seafood reaching GBP 178 million over the same period.

The UK’s Co-operative Bank Ethical Consumerism 2010 Report shows that overall and throughout the recession, there has been growing support by British consumers for green goods and services — an 18 percent increase in total spending between 2007 and 2009 — with sustainable seafood one of the key drivers of overall growth.

In a separate survey conducted by Platform Verduurzaming Voedsel and LEI in the Netherlands, researchers found that spending on eco-labeled wild seafood increased by 50 percent in the first six months of 2010, compared to the same period in 2009. In the first half of the year, overall food spending increased just 1.4 percent, while spending on eco-labeled food increased 25.5 percent. The leap in revenue, from EUR 39 million to EUR 59 million, makes the sustainable-seafood market one of the fastest growing sectors in the Netherlands.

“We are seeing the same levels of growth in other European markets, and the support for MSC labeled products is a testament to shoppers’ desire to reward fisheries prepared to demonstrate they are fishing sustainably,” said Nicolas Guichoux, MSC regional director for Europe. “In one of the most difficult economic years on record, consumers are holding on to their values and are not turning their backs on ethical considerations. Both the UK and Dutch surveys show that the transformation of the seafood market is not a fair weather trend and is here to stay.”


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