Diners demanding greater transparency, claims NSC

Sustainable fish continues to rise up the agenda for diners, however, they are demanding greater transparency to help make the right decisions when choosing from a menu, according to new research by the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC).

The data clearly shows that the UK continues to be a nation of fish and chip lovers, with more than a third of Brits tucking into them once a week or more, and 65% partaking at least once a month. Environment is key for this highly evocative dish: 62% of respondents prefer fish and chips straight out of the packaging - 46% with their fingers. And almost a quarter (24%) of diners like to dig in on the beach.

But there’s strong consensus when it comes to sustainability: nearly 9 out of 10 diners (87%) agreed that sustainable fish is important to them. Despite this, only a quarter (24%) said they knew what to look for when it came to sustainable fish in a fish and chip shop, and the majority (53%) aren’t even sure they can tell the difference between cod and haddock.

Almost three quarters (74%) of respondents agreed that they would find it helpful for fish and chips shops to tell them more about the sustainability credentials of their dishes.

Younger generations indulge more frequently, with 70% of 18-24 year-olds eating fish and chips at least weekly. But although Generation Z tucks in the most, they’re more demanding when it comes to environmental credentials: 85% think the origin of a catch is important when buying fish in a fish and chip shop. Plus, they’re more savvy, with 63% being confident they can spot a cod from a haddock.

Highly regarded by fish and chips shops across the UK for its cod and haddock, Norway leads the whitefish sector on sustainability and quality. The country’s environment and location provide the perfect conditions for fish, and its rich marine ecosystem teems with unique seafood that includes the world’s largest stocks of Atlantic cod.

Understanding the importance of protecting these precious resources, Norway has long been a global pioneer in sustainable fishing methods. So whenever diners buy seafood with the origin mark, ‘Seafood from Norway’, they can be sure it meets exemplary standards in sustainability.

Hans Frode Kielland Asmyhr, UK director, Norwegian Seafood Council says: “We’re seeing a sea change in public awareness around sustainability. And as the traditional fish and chip supper adapts to meet these needs, customers are asking for more help to make the right choices.

"Nostalgia remains a key component. As one of the nation’s favourite dishes, fish and chips will always hold a special place in British hearts – young and old. But diners now expect more when it comes to sourcing, and this is being driven by younger, more environmentally-aware consumers."

The Norwegian Seafood Council is keen to reassure diners that they’re choosing sustainable fish supper and also to help businesses attract and retain customers by making this more explicit.

Hans Frode adds: "We’re obsessive that our seafood is sustainably fished, so it’s a missed opportunity when fish and chip shops that serve our fish don’t let customers know about its origin. It’s good for business, it reassures the customer, and it’s a hard-earned badge of honour for us.”