Tuesday, 16 October 2018 08:12

Seafood diners choose sustainability over price, new study reveals

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  • British seafood diners choose sustainability over price when eating seafood
  • 8 in 10 seafood diners (81%) want sustainability claims independently verified – with only 11% of diners saying that businesses contribute very well to protecting oceans
  • Plastic pollution and overfishing are the most concerning ocean issues

The Marine Stewardship Council has commissioned a study that reveals the habits of British seafood diners. The study found that diners choose sustainability over price when dining out, with safe to eat, taste, fresh, good for heath as priority factors.

Conducted by research agency GlobeScan, the survey also reveals seafood diners demand independent verification of sustainability claims - with 8 in 10 (81%) saying that brands’ claims about sustainability need to be clearly labelled by an independent organisation.

Concerns about overfishing come second only to plastic pollution, and 82% diners believe that people should be prepared to switch to another type of fish if it is more sustainable.


In a climate of low consumer trust in business and government, trust in the blue MSC label remains high at 70%. Over two-thirds (62%) of diners say ecolabels on fish and seafood raise trust and confidence in a brand.

While nearly all seafood diners (92%) purchase their seafood in supermarkets, nearly three-quarters (70%) purchase seafood in hotels, restaurants and bistros, and almost two-thirds (62%) of diners purchase fish from the fish and chip shop.

Sustainable dining

Over the past two years, the number of menus across Britain featuring certified MSC-labelled seafood jumped over 60%. This year Café Rouge and Wetherspoons have both launched MSC-certified sustainable seafood dishes on their menus, meaning over 900 new sites offer customers sustainable fish choices.

Across the foodservice sector, there are now nearly 3,000 pub and restaurant group sites using the MSC ecolabel on their menus. In addition, there are also 118 independent MSC-certified fish and chips shops.

“It’s clear that diners are placing increasing importance on seafood sustainability when making menu choices. Thanks to our restaurant and pub group partners’ commitment to offering certified sustainable seafood, it’s easier than ever for diners to enjoy their favourite fish dish safe in the knowledge that the seafood has been fished sustainably,” says Polly Hofmann, Commercial Manager, UK & Ireland.

GlobeScan's public opinion research shows that the proportion of people who believe their children and grandchildren will have a better quality of life than them has dropped. The MSC-commissioned research reflects this concern for the future, with 87% of seafood diners agreeing we need to protect fish so our children and grandchildren can enjoy seafood in the future.

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