An Eurobarometer survey published this year has offered up some interesting insights into Ireland’s seafood habits and how they stack up against other EU countries. Each survey consists of approximately 1000 face-to-face interviews in each of the 28 EU countries.
The survey revealed almost half of us (49%) eat seafood at home at least once a week – a small bit higher than the EU average (42%) but there was also a surprisingly larger number of Irish people who never eat seafood at all (22%), something fairly incredible for an island nation.
How often do we buy seafood?
44% of us buy seafood at least once a week, higher than the EU the average European of 37% but again a massive 27% of us never buy any seafood at all, far higher than the EU average of 17%
Looking specifically at people who eat seafood, Irish people are revealed to be interested in trying new products and species with 74% indicating this.
What matters most when buying seafood?
When it comes to buying seafood, presentation, cost and origin were in that order of importance to both Irish and EU respondents. However Irish people were almost twice as likely to indicate that ease and speed of preparation was important.
According to the survey Irish people also favoured local products more than the EU average – No surprises there when you consider the diverse fishery resources that surround Ireland.
What should be on product labels?
We mostly parallel our EU neighbours when it comes to number of people wanting information on date of catch, environmental information and ethical information. We’re definitely more keen on information about who caught it and where it was landed.
Summing up, the survey reveals that there is a sizable minority of people in Ireland who have yet to be won over by seafood but the vast majority who have a taste for it are not afraid to be adventurous and try new things.
When it comes to seafood choices, we favour local produce and are particularly interested in catch information. Interestingly, how quick and easy seafood is to prepare is a surprisingly important factor when buying – the myth that seafood is difficult to prepare remains a persistent one.
Considering the responses to this survey, it would seem there is an opportunity to expand seafood choices in Ireland. Such a move would be good for the consumer and also for our efforts to reduce pressure on more heavily fished stocks.