Changes in fish consumption and attitudes

Photo: Guðmundur B. Friðriksson


In spite of many positive effects from consuming fish, its consumption has been decreasing considerably in the past few years. Younger people generally consumes less fish than people in older age groups. According to a survey done by The Public Health Institute of Iceland, fish consumption by adult Icelandic people has been decreasing considerably in recent years. Average fish consumption among adults is now just over 6 meals a month but only half of that among young people aged 15-19 years.    

In 2006, a large survey was carried out on the consumer habits regarding seafood among people aged 18-25 years old. The main purpose was to examine seafood consumption within that age group, consumer attitudes and which factors were determinative regarding consumption of seafood. In a report published on this survey, the results showed among other things that about 94% of people considered fish as a healthy food. Most people were of the opinion that taste (91%) and freshness (84%) were the most important factors when buying fish and 77% mentioned wholesomeness.

Since more emphasis was on taste and freshness rather than wholesomeness it is important that people know how to determine fish freshness. This knowledge seems to be lacking among younger people but over 40% said that they did not know how to determine the freshness of fish. Furthermore, over 30% said that fish smelled badly. It is probable that these attitudes and decreasing knowledge on fish products lead to decreasing consumption of fish.


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