Reports

Attitudes and fish consumption in Iceland 2011

Published:

01/12/2011

Authors:

Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir, Dagný Yrsa Eyþórsdóttir, Gunnþórunn Einarsdóttir, Emilia Martinsdóttir

Supported by:

Student Innovation Fund, Rannís

contact

Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir

Project Manager

kolbrun.sveinsdottir@matis.is

Attitudes and fish consumption in Iceland 2011

The aim of the study was to examine consumption habits and attitudes related to seafood among Icelanders aged 18-80. A survey was set up online and letters were sent to a sample from Statistics Iceland in June 2011 and responses were received from 525 people. The aim was also to examine the changes that have taken place in Icelanders' attitudes and fish consumption since the last figures were published in 2006 for people aged 18-26. Attitudes and consumption of Icelanders were analyzed by gender, age, place of residence, education, monthly household income before tax, number in the household and number of children under 18 in the household. On average, Icelanders eat fish as a main course about twice a week. Haddock is the most popular species on the tables of the people and is consumed about once a week, followed by cod. On average, Icelanders take fish oil about four times a week, but in total about half of Icelanders take fish oil daily and 62% three times a week or more. In general, Icelanders seem to eat fresh but frozen fish more often and very little is bought from prepared fish dishes chilled or frozen. Attitudes towards eating fish are generally very positive and the vast majority consider fish healthy and good. Most people believe that family has the most encouraging effect on fish consumption and that a wider budget, easier access to fresh fish and a wider range of fish could have an effect on increased fish consumption. There is a big difference between fish consumption and the attitudes of men and women. Women prefer to buy food and place more emphasis on hygiene, freshness, accessibility and price. They are also of the opinion that it is expensive to eat fish. There was a significant difference between age groups, both in terms of total fish consumption frequency, consumption of different fish products and attitudes. Fish consumption increases with age, as does fish oil consumption. The emphasis on hygiene is lower among younger people. There was a difference in the consumption behavior and consumption of different fish species and products according to residence, which can probably be largely explained by traditions and different supply of fish. Most people, especially those in the older age group, find it rather expensive to eat fish. On the other hand, they find fish more valuable than younger ones. However, it seems that the youngest group is even willing to pay more for fish, as they are of the opinion that a wider range of ready-made fish dishes and fish dishes in restaurants could have an effect on increased fish consumption. Positive changes have taken place in fish consumption and attitudes of people aged 18-26 in the last five years. This group is now more in favor of fish and the frequency of fish consumption has increased somewhat, which is mainly explained by increased fish consumption outside the home. Consumption of fish oil and diversity in the choice of seafood seems to have increased. In this age group, there has been an increase in the consumption of fresh fish, sushi, salted fish and chilled semi-prepared dishes.

The aim of the study was to investigate seafood consumption and attitudes among 18‐80 year old Icelanders. A total of 525 people completed a web-based survey. The aim was also to study changes in attitudes and fish consumption in the last five years among people 18-26 years. The data were analyzed by gender, age, residence, education, income, number of household members and number of children below 18 years. On average, the fish consumption frequency (fish as main course) is around two times a week. Haddock is the most frequently consumed fish species and is consumed around one time per week. Fish oil is consumed four times a week on average, but 50% of the participants consume fish oil every day. Fresh fish is more frequently consumed than frozen fish and ready fish meals, chilled or frozen, are rarely bought. Attitudes towards consuming fish are generally very positive. Most people consider family to have the most encouraging influence on their fish consumption and that less stringent finances, easier access to fresh fish and more variety of fish could positively influence their fish consumption. Fish consumption pattern and attitudes differ by gender. Women more frequently purchase food and emphasize more healthy food, freshness, access and price. Large differences were found between different age groups, both regarding fish consumption frequency, fish products and attitudes. Fish consumption and fish oil consumption frequency increase with age. Emphasis on healthy food are less among younger people. Consumption habits and consumption of different fish species and products differ by residence around the country. This can largely be explained by different traditions and different fish supply. Most people, especially in older age groups consider it expensive to consume fish. They are, however, more likely to consider fish money worth compared to younger people. The youngest age group appears though to be ready to pay more for fish as their opinion is that more variety of ready fish meals and fish courses at restaurants could positively influence their fish consumption. The last five years, positive changes in fish consumption and attitudes among people 18-26 years have occurred. This group now consumes fish more frequently, the varity in their choice of seafood has increased. The consumption of fresh fish, sushi, salted cod and chilled oven ready fish meals has increased among this group.

View report

Reports

Fish consumption of 17 to 49 year old Icelanders on different fish species and products

Published:

01/09/2007

Authors:

Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir

Supported by:

AVS Fisheries Research Fund

contact

Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir

Project Manager

kolbrun.sveinsdottir@matis.is

Fish consumption of 17 to 49 year old Icelanders on different fish species and products

This report is part of the AVS project "Value and safety of Icelandic seafood - Risk composition and risk ranking". Its aim is to provide a detailed and accessible summary of the information available on Icelanders' fish consumption, and is based on information obtained in the AVS attitude and consumption survey of the project "Attitudes and fish consumption of young people: Improving the image of seafood" conducted in 2006. A national sample of people aged 17-49 was obtained from Statistics Iceland and a total of 2198 responses were received. The results concerning the total frequency of fish consumption, the frequency of consumption of fish species and products, the relative consumption of fatty and lean fish species were examined in terms of age, sex and place of residence. People's attitudes towards the health and risk of fish consumption were also examined. Although people generally seem well-informed and convinced of the health and safety of seafood, fish consumption is lower than recommended. People in the oldest age group (40-49 years) eat fish 1.9 times a week on average, but fish consumption is lower in the youngest age group (17-29 years) or 1.3 times a week. Icelanders eat the most lean fish such as haddock and cod, and it can be estimated that the 50% fish we eat are lean, about 25% medium fat and about 20% fatty fish such as salmon, trout and herring. Consumption of packaged, prepared fish dishes, chilled and frozen was insignificant and less than 10% people eat these dishes once a month or more. However, 30% people eat semi-prepared chilled fish dishes from a fresh fish table once a month or more. There were some differences in the consumption of different fish species and products according to age. The choice of younger people is not as diverse as that of older people, and younger people often do not eat fish species and products that older people have become accustomed to, such as marinated herring and caviar. A large part of the youngest age group eats fast food twice a week or more often. There is a considerable difference in people's consumption according to place of residence. People in the capital area eat fish less often, people in the countryside eat more traditional fish species such as haddock, but far more often frozen fish and salted fish. Residents of the capital, on the other hand, more often eat semi-prepared fish dishes from a fresh fish table.

The beneficial effects of fish on health are well known. Access to accurate information about fish consumption, fish species and -products, the percentage of lean vs fat fish species is very important in order to estimate the value and safety of Icelandic seafood products. This report is a part of the project Food safety and added value of Icelandic seafood products, funded by the AVS Fund of the Ministry of Fisheries in Iceland. The aim of this report is to provide detailed overview of the available information on fish consumption in Iceland. The information was collected in the project Young consumer attitudes and fish consumption: Improved image of seafood, an attitude and consumption survey in 2006 which was funded by AVS. A representative sample of the population in Iceland was provided by Statistics Iceland and answers from 2198 people 17-49 years were received. Results concerning total fish consumption frequency, fish species and -products, the relative consumption of fat vs lean fish species, attitudes towards the wholesomeness and risks of fish consumption were analyzed with regard to age, gender and residence. Although, people are generally well informed and convinced that seafood is wholesome and safe, fish consumption is below recommendations. People in the oldest age group (40-49 years) consume fish 1.9 times per week on average, but the youngest age group (17-29 years) consumes even less fish, only 1.3 times per week. Lean fish species, such as haddock and cod, is the most popular and it can be estimated that more than half of the fish consumed is lean, approx. 25% medium fat species but only 20% fat fish species such as salmon, trout and herring. Consumption of packed fish meals, chilled and frozen, is very low, less than 10% consume such products once a month or more frequently. However, 30% consume chilled ready-to-cook fish meals bought from fishmongers or fresh fish counters at supermarkets. Differences in consumption of fish species and -products were observed with age, the preferences of younger people tended to be more limited range and they often did not consume some of the fish species and -products which older people were accustomed to, such as marinated herring and caviar. Differences in consumption were also observed depending on residence. People in the capital area are likely to consume fish less frequently, whilst people living in the countryside are more inclined to prefer traditional fish species such as haddock, but much more often frozen- and salted fish.

View report
en_GBEnglish