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Consumers Spend On Sustainable Seafood

EU - British and Dutch consumers are increasingly committed to buying sustainable seafood products even in difficult financial times. Independent research shows a 154 per cent increase in consumer spend on sustainable seafood in the UK, and a 50 per cent increase in the Netherlands.

Despite just one per cent growth in overall household expenditure between 2007 and 2009, the sustainable seafood sector flourished, with UK spend on sustainable seafood reaching £178 million over the same period.

The UK’s Co-operative Bank Ethical Consumerism 2010 Report shows that overall and throughout the recession, there has been growing support by British consumers for green goods and services – an 18 per cent increase in total spend between 2007 and 2009. Ethical and environmentally friendly food and drinks is one of the fastest growing sectors within the category (27 per cent over the last two years) but across all services and goods the market for sustainable seafood is one of the key drivers of the overall growth.

In a separate survey on food and sustainability carried out by Platform Verduurzaming Voedsel and LEI in the Netherlands, researchers found that spend on sustainable-labelled wild-caught seafood increased by 50 per cent in the first six months of 2010, compared to the same period in 2009. Of that expenditure, over two-thirds comes from products carrying the MSC ecolabel for certified sustainable seafood.

In the first half of 2010, overall food expenditure in the Netherlands increased by just 1.4 per cent while consumer expenditure on sustainable and ecolabelled food increased by 25.5 per cent. However, the leap in revenue from sustainable seafood – from €39 to 59 million, makes it one of the fastest moving sectors in the Netherlands.

Nicolas Guichoux, Regional Director for Europe at the Marine Stewardship Council, welcomed the latest evidence about consumer spending on certified sustainable seafood, and said: “We are seeing the same levels of growth in other European markets and the support for MSC labelled products is a testament to shoppers’ desire to reward fisheries prepared to demonstrate they are fishing sustainably.

In one of the most difficult economic years on record, consumers are holding on to their values and are not turning their backs on ethical considerations. Both the UK and Dutch surveys show that the transformation of the seafood market is not a fair weather trend and is here to stay.”

the Fish Site Editor

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