Fresh vs. frozen: Do British consumers care?

By

SeafoodSource staff

Published on
August 29, 2010

A shift from full-service to self-service seafood cases in Great Britain is spawning new challenges for Norway’s seafood industry, the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (Nofima) reported on Monday.

Nofima scientists traveled to London and Manchester to investigate how supermarkets are marketing fresh vs. frozen fish. Using pre-packaged cod loins as an example, Nofima found a lot of inconsistency between labeling, product form and pricing. For instance, one product that had definitely been thawed cost more than one product that had not necessarily been frozen.

They added that only one supermarket chain, Morrisons, labeled its pre-packaged cod loins as genuinely fresh.

The study, concluded Nofima scientists, shows that British consumers have mixed perceptions of fresh vs. frozen fish. Fresh fish is perceived as being of higher quality, while frozen fish is perceived as being convenient, inexpensive and of a reasonable value.

”Our find gives reason to ask whether there is little interest among English consumers for buying genuinely fresh products,” said Nofima scientist Finn-Arne Egeness. “Or is it a case that the customers have perhaps experienced that the quality of the thawed products is so good that buying fresh products is unimportant? Or is it perhaps that the customers don’t realize that the products are based on frozen raw materials?

”Great Britain is a well developed market for whitefish products. There is major competition between the supermarkets, and innovation and product development are high priorities,” added Egeness. “Several in the industry claim that decisive changes occur first in the British market and are later transferred to other markets. Consequently, it’s important to follow what is happening in England.”

This project is financed by the Fisheries and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund.

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