Does fish origin matter to European consumers? Insights from a consumer survey in Belgium, Norway and Spain

F. Vanhonacker, T. Altintzoglou, J.B. Luten, W. Verbeke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – This study aims to gain insights into the relevance and market potential of fish origin (farmed or wild) among consumers in Belgium, Norway and Spain. Design/methodology/approach – Cross-sectional data were collected through a consumer survey (n=1,319), conducted in November-December 2007 in three European countries: Belgium, Norway and Spain. The study describes personal and food characteristics, as well as consumer attitudes and knowledge related to fish origin. Further, these characteristics were analysed in terms of their impact on the choice of either farmed or wild fish, using bivariate analyses. Findings – In general, European consumers have little knowledge or awareness regarding the origin of fish. This results in uncertainty in consumers' perception of farmed fish in particular. The study is in line with previous ones suggesting that perceptions of aquaculture and farmed fish are based more on emotions than on rational considerations. Still, the perception of farmed fish is positive in general. Consumers do not prioritise fish origin as an information cue, although variation is present between different consumer groups. Consumers of predominantly farmed versus wild fish did not have a very distinct profile, which corroborates with the only modest significance of fish origin as a product-specific information cue during the fish purchase and consumption decision process. Originality/value – The strength of the paper pertains to its international scope, and to the diversity of countries selected in terms of relevant variables. Also, the growing relevance of aquaculture as a fish production method and farmed fish as a food product makes results and findings of the study topical and of practical relevance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-549
JournalBritish Food Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • risk perception
  • food choice
  • wild fish
  • information
  • consumption
  • technologies
  • translation
  • involvement
  • aquaculture
  • countries

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