Seafish plans new education hooks for seafood consumption

Published on
October 20, 2014

After two disappointing surveys on U.K. consumers’ seafood knowledge, promotion organization Seafish is planning new educational and marketing approaches.

Seafish’s most recent survey found that 96 percent of adults don’t know the recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids they should consume weekly and only 27 percent recognize that they should eat two portions of fish each week (according to U.K. dietary guidelines), one of which should be oily fish.

Plus, a September Seafish survey of 5- to 11-year-olds found that 29 percent of children named “fish fingers” as an edible seafood, ahead of popular species such as haddock (18 percent) and prawns (16 percent).

The new research, carried out by YouGov as part of the Fish is the Dish ‘Feed Your Mind’ omega-3 campaign, also found that 18 percent of U.K. consumers don’t know the difference between omega-3 fats and saturated fats. However, 75 percent of consumers know that omega-3 fatty acids are linked to health benefits, such as helping to keep the heart working normally and maintaining normal blood pressure, brain function and vision.

“We were more shocked at the fact that almost three-quarters of adults didn’t know they should be having two portions of fish each week, with one of these being an oily fish – even though this is one of the government’s eight key tips for a healthy diet. There is clearly still work to be done to get the ‘two a week’ message through to people,” Heather Middleton, director of Fish is the Dish, told SeafoodSource.

At the same time, Seafish executives were not surprised that consumers’ knowledge about the weekly intake of omega 3s and the portion sizes of fish required each week to get the weekly dose was low. “While some seafood products do put omega-3 information on packaging, it is not widespread like other labelling requirements and consumers do not know what to look for,” Middleton said.

Another “disappointing” result of the survey, according to Seafish, was that 63 percent of adults said they didn’t know the weight of fish that should count as one serving. Only 15 percent knew that, when cooked, the recommended serving size should be about 140 grams.

To better educate U.K. consumers on omega-3 fats and health, Fish is the Dish launched the “Feed Your Mind” campaign during National Seafood Week, from 3 October – 10 October. The campaign “is aiming to get as many people as possible enjoying the great taste and variety of seafood while getting the amazing health benefits of omega-3 rich fish,” Middleton said.

However, Seafish will significantly ramp up National Seafood Week education in 2015. “We are bringing back National Seafood Week on a big scale next year, which aims to get the whole industry involved in encouraging consumers to eat more variety of seafood,” Middleton said.

“We’re working with a select few restaurants for National Seafood Week this year, mostly smaller, independent ones that can change menus quickly. However, next year, we aim to have all of the major foodservice organizations involved, from large restaurant chains to hotels and fishmongers,” said Denise Fraser, senior media relations officer at Seafish.

In addition, Seafish will soon be announcing a new corporate plan, which will begin 1 April 2015 and run for three years. The plan “will have lots of new initiatives, including a possible ‘Fish on Friday’ campaign to amplify something consumers already know,” Middleton said.

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