Younger consumers are especially concerned by the smell

Smell is the biggest barrier to increased fish consumption after price, ahead of concern about sustainability and over-fishing, new research for The Grocer suggests.

Nearly 20% of consumers said they would eat more fish “if it didn’t make the house smell” and a further 7% said they would eat more if it did not make their workplace smell.

By comparison, just 16% cited concern about overfishing and environmental impact as a reason for not eating more fish or seafood.

Younger consumers were especially concerned about smell, with 26.2% of those aged 16 to 24 mentioning it as a reason for not eating more fish at home, compared with 15% of those aged 35 to 44 and 16.8% of those over 55.

Across all age groups, price was consumers’ number one reason for not eating more fish and seafood - 50% said they would buy more if it were cheaper or better value for money. Older demographics were more price-sensitive than younger shoppers: 56.2% of the over-55s said they were put off by price compared with 38.6% of 16 to 24 year olds.

The survey also suggested concerns about price were stopping some consumers from buying more from supermarket fish counters.

Encouragingly for the industry, however, most consumers considered fish and seafood to be healthier than rival proteins, and 83% knew it was high in good fats and omega-3.

The survey was run for The Grocer by Harris Interactive across 2,033 UK consumers.

“Whilst it is clear that the vast majority of consumers are aware of the health benefits of fish and seafood, there are barriers to increased purchase and consumption,” said Harris head of consumer and retail research Lucia Juliano.

Read this: What consumers think about fish