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Britons Warm To Prawns

Crustaceans Marketing Economics +3 more

UK - Despite the recession, volume sales of warmwater prawns have risen by 14 per cent suggesting that their perceived image as a luxury item is changing, according to the latest retail figures from Seafish, the authority on seafood.

Britons consumed 15,400 tonnes of warmwater prawns worth £190 million in the last twelve months. These figures suggest that consumers are still choosing to buy what have been previously considered luxury food items to enjoy at home.

Warmwater prawns, also known as king prawns, are imported into the UK from South East Asia and South Central America. Prawns are increasingly being used as a healthy meat substitute in curries, stir fries and pasta dishes.

Karen Galloway, market insight manager at Seafish, said: "There is no doubting the appeal of these larger prawn species to the UK consumer. Warmwater prawns have always been seen as exotic and exciting due to their use in spicy and heavily flavoured dishes.

"Retailers and suppliers have been encouraging consumers to buy them more frequently by ensuring that they are promoted on a regular basis. As a result, we have become used to including them in our diet and sales continue to grow."

Prawns are also set for a boost in figures after new research by the University of Surrey confirmed that prawns have no effect on blood cholesterol. The research project was organised by the Shellfish Association of Great Britain (SAGB) to dispel the common myth that shellfish raises levels of bad cholesterol.

Dr Tom Pickerell, Director of the SAGB said: "We welcome this new research however many health care professionals continue to advise patients with high blood cholesterol to cut back on prawns.

"Prawns are low in saturated fat, lower in calories than chicken, and a rich source of omega-3 oils, and along with other shellfish should form part of a healthy diet," Dr Pickerell concluded.

Prawns are a very versatile ingredient, ideal for consumers to try cooking at home as they are quick and easy to prepare. They also count towards the recommended two portions of seafood per week as advised by the Food Standards Agency.