Monday, May 28, 2012

Aquaculture UK 2012: Fish consumption on the decline

Aquaculture UK 2012 provided a platform for invited speakers on fish marketing, notably, Dr Martin Jaffa of Callander McDowell, who specialises in market driven strategies for the salmon industry and Jimmy Young, from Stirling University.

Much to the surprise of many, Martin provided data to support the view that annual finfish consumption in many European countries such as UK and France as well as USA and yes, Japan are either stagnant or in decline. He adds that in the UK in 2009 and 2011 fish consumption was only 1.65kg/person/year amounting to just six fillet portions. 

fish & chips
fish & chips (Photo credit: David Ascher)
The main reason proposed for this stagnation was the ageing populations in these countries who have a preference of fish and the disappearance of the traditional fish mongers and emergence of hypermarkets. Martin proposes that the industry should do more to take the fish to the consumer and promote, in particular salmon, with fast foods, ready meals and mix fish with other meats.

Jimmy Young highlighted key emerging issues in marketing of fish and called for more research in understanding the global market value chain and market trends. In recent years the reduction of ICT costs and use of electronic point of source information (tills at supermarkets) has generated huge amounts of information and further challenges for understanding consumer behaviour, especially how the we can link products to core values of consumers. 

Jimmy also highlighted the need to diversify fish products using fish as a basic ingredient and ensuring greater efficiency of use of fish through meat and bone separation technologies. There is danger of information overload in complex messages being received by consumers and the industry is reminded of choices consumers have with other meat proteins and entrenched interests of agriculture who increasingly see fish as a strong competitor.  

Prof Krishen Rana
This blog is written by staff at International Aquafeed Magazine which is published and supported by Perendale Publishers Limited. To get your copy of PPL's web application, 'PPLAPP' click here

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