Fish is a traditional element of gastronomic culture in Christian countries, and is primarily served on Fridays. As a valuable nutritional resource drawn from the oceans of the world as well as from domestic lakes and rivers, fish has been an indispensable source of protein in our human diet for many centuries. But given that not all fish is the same, consumers have a high need for information about the products they are offered. A new representative survey conducted by TÜV SÜD reveals which voluntary additional information extending beyond standard requirements is the most important for shoppers.
Information that is required by law and must be provided by producers or retailers at the point of purchase comprises:
- the commercial description of the type of fish, together with its scientific name,
- the production method,
- the fishing area and category of fishing method used,
- information about defrosting, and
- the best-before date.
However, food companies also voluntarily provide further information on their packaging to ensure consumers are aware of the quality of their products. Particularly where fish is concerned, shoppers may be confused by the wealth of information provided on packaging and in the form of QR codes and accompanying print or Web information, which can actually make purchasing decisions more difficult. As a new survey by TÜV SÜD shows, some specific details are of particular interest to consumers, while others are of less concern.
According to a TÜV SÜD household survey with 540 respondents, held in January 2017, the most important item of information is the “date of catch”; 66% of replies described this as “extremely important” or “important” when purchasing fresh fish. Nutritional information was given as the next most important item, and is a priority for 55% of respondents. Information on ethical or social considerations and more precise details of the production method or technique fall into the middle ground. Consumers are less interested in details of the fishing method, the flag state of the vessel or the name of the port where the catch was landed.
Salmon, pollack, redfish, cod, trout and carp are the most popular types of fish in Germany. At present, declaration of the date of catch – or, in the case of fish from aquaculture operations, the date of harvest – and of nutritional information on the fish or fish product is voluntary for manufacturers, so that packaging does not always include these details. However, shoppers associate these items of information with freshness and health – two criteria that serve as key drivers for consumers when purchasing fish, and indeed all other foods as well.
For more information related to food safety, visit: www.tuv-sud.com/foodsafety.
Press contact: Carolin Eckert