Reports

Knowledgeable fish consumers: Do consumers benefit from education about quality characteristics and fish handling?

Published:

01/12/2007

Authors:

Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir, Aðalheiður Ólafsdóttir, Hannes Magnússon, Emilia Martinsdóttir

Supported by:

AVS Research Fund

contact

Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir

Project Manager

kolbrun.sveinsdottir@matis.is

Knowledgeable fish consumers: Do consumers benefit from education about quality characteristics and fish handling?

The goal of AVS Knowledgeable Fish Consumers is to prepare guidelines for consumers with general information on quality characteristics and fish handling. The purpose is to improve the public's knowledge of fish, which will hopefully contribute to increased consumption and the increased value of seafood. This report describes the preparation of the instructions and the results of a course held for consumers on how to assess the freshness of fish and an introduction to the content of the instructions. The course was divided into two parts. In the first part, eight consumers received a short lecture on the quality characteristics of cod and how they change during storage. They were trained to evaluate the freshness of raw and boiled cod fillets of different freshness according to rating scales. In the second part of the course, the (same) consumers were asked to rate raw and cooked fillets according to their own taste and also to evaluate freshness. Furthermore, they were asked for suggestions regarding the instructions, the grading scales and whether the content of the course was useful. The results of the course indicated that guidelines of this kind are fully relevant to consumers. The course participants' assessment of raw and cooked fish fillets according to grading scales showed that they were quick to adopt the methods and descriptions given of different raw materials. At the end of the course, the participants in question were more confident in assessing the quality of fish, believing that they would enjoy fish meals better than before and that they would buy fish more often than before. It would be sensible to follow up the project with a larger group of consumers, both to obtain a more reliable assessment of the usefulness of such guidelines, as well as to monitor the long-term impact of this type of information. The annexes to the report provide guidance and a shortened rating scale for consumers to assess the freshness of fish.

The aim of the project Fróðir fiskneytendur (English: Informed fish consumers) is to write guidelines about seafood with general information for consumers about quality attributes and fish handling. The purpose is to increase knowledge about fish in general, which will hopefully result in increased fish consumption and increased value of seafood. This report describes the conception and writing of the guidelines and the results from a workshop on evaluation of fish freshness and fish handling, held for consumers. Eight consumers received a lecture about fish handling and sensory quality of cod. They were trained to evaluate the freshness of raw- and cooked cod fillets of different storage times, using short sensory grading schemes. The consumers were also asked to grade the fillets according to their liking. In addition, the participants were asked for comments on the guidelines and the grading schemes and to evaluate if the topic in the workshop was useful. The results indicated that the guidelines and sensory grading schemes for freshness evaluation were useful for consumers. After the workshop, consumers felt more confident about evaluating fish, thought they would enjoy fish meals more than before and would buy fish more often.

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