Pulcini Domitilla

Researcher CREA

14th February

Session: “INGREDIENTS” FOR HEALTHY AND SAFE FOOD FOR HUMANS

Speech:

Italian consumer’ awareness toward farmed seafood: purchase and consumption habits

Consumer purchasing behaviour towards seafood stuffs is capturing the interest of the main stakeholders of the supply chain of fishery and aquaculture, for political and economic reasons.

Citing the FAO report on fishery and aquaculture (FAO, 2018), per capita fish consumption has increased from an average of 9.9 kg to 19.2 kg from 1960s to 2016, and will further increase in the next decades. Meeting the growing demand for fish as food following the guidelines of 2030 Agenda is both imperative and challenging. The ever-growing world population and fish per-capita consumption are causing an alarming pressure on natural fish stocks. Therefore, the required additional fish production should be offered by aquaculture, despite its widely known negative impacts on environment and, by some chance, on natural resources as well. Italian aquaculture production had been slightly increasing from 2013 to 2017, and an updated picture of the status of the sector will be presented.

Previous investigations showed that in Italy 60-80% of consumers use to purchase fisheries and aquaculture products (EUMOFA, 2017), but wild fish seems to be widely preferred. Even if consumers seem to be still unwilling to buy aquaculture products, opportunities are emerging for seafood farmed according to sustainability issues, such as organic farming, as established by a market survey carried out by CREA (Centre of Zootechny and aquatic production), in cooperation with large retailers and consumers’ associations. Data collection has been carried out by mean of an online questionnaire since October 2017 and is still ongoing. More than 8000 answers were evaluated up to date.

The questionnaire was made of three main sections: 1) consumers’ seafood consumption habits, with particular emphasis on farmed products; 2) consumers’ seafood purchase behaviour; 3) attitude towards organic foodstuff, in particular aquaculture products. The degree of awareness of consumers towards farmed seafood and organic principles was evaluated.

A better understanding of consumer’ purchasing behaviour towards farmed seafood is paramount to developing more effective marketing and policy strategies in order to increase aquaculture products consumption.

Curriculum Vitae