Surf ‘n’ turf key to attracting younger fish consumers, says Mintel

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Surf and turf
Surf and turf

Related tags Fish Seafood Mintel

Dishes that combine meat and seafood could be the best way to get younger people to buy more fish, according to new research.

The suggestion was made by a Mintel report, which revealed that more than half (57%) of 16 to 24-year-olds did not buy any fish or shellfish in the three months to September.

This compares against 39% for all age groups (aged 16 and over) in the same three-month period. For people aged 65 and over, the figure is just 17%.

Richard Ford, senior food analyst at Mintel, said: “Pairing fish or shellfish with meat products should help seafood appeal to younger consumers.”

The theory is substantiated by the report, which found that 30% of 16 to 24-year-olds would be interested in ready-to-cook products combining meat and fish.

Healthy option

Mintel’s research also showed that consumers still believe fish is an integral part of a healthy diet.

More than two-thirds, (70%) of Brits who’ve eaten fish or shellfish in the past three months agree that a healthy diet should include at least two portions of fish a week. This rose to 80% of people aged 65 and over, but dropped to just 55% for those aged 16 to 24.

Ford said: “That more than two-thirds of UK consumers who eat fish and shellfish agree that a healthy diet should include at least two portions of fish a week is good news. “Increasing awareness of the two-a-week advice among those aged under 25 may help to grow intake.”

Ethical catch

Over half (53%) of consumers who bought fish or shellfish in the three months to September preferred to buy fish that has been certified as responsibly sourced. This has been matched by an increase in the number of suppliers taking steps to use and sell responsibly sourced fish and shellfish.

Mintel found the number of processed fish products launched in the UK that claimed to be ‘environmentally friendly’ was now 50% – up 28 percentage points since 2010.

Ford said: “Increasing the sustainability of products offers a way in which to add value. “Both retailers and suppliers have recently been proactive in working to improve the sustainability credentials of their seafood, which stands them and the category in good stead.”

Volume drop

Overall volume sales of fish and shellfish have been sinking – dropping from 409m kg in 2009 to an estimated 364m kg in 2014. Between 2013 and 2014 alone, Mintel estimated that volume sales will fall by 4%, to 379m kg.

They are forecast to drop further, to 329m kg by 2019. However, fuelled by inflation and consumers trading up to added-value offerings, value sales have risen from £3bn in 2009 to an estimated £3.4bn in 2014, Mintel said.

Sales are forecast to reach £3.7bn in 2019.

“Inflation continues to challenge the category, as does the fact that fish remains more expensive than other proteins,” said Ford.

“Adding value through niche and new product concepts, such as pairing seafood with meat products, should help to build usage,” he added.

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