Fish: From European origin, sustainably produced - What do consumers want?


 (c) Thünen-Institut - Yvonne Feucht

SUCCESS – Strategic Use of Competitiveness towards Consolidating the Economic Sustainability of the european Seafood sector

Which preferences do consumers have with respect to European fisheries? Do sustainability, European origin and innovations offer new opportunities for the future development of European fisheries? In this subproject of SUCCESS we analyze consumer expectations on the production of seafood.

Background and Objective

In the European seafood market European producers compete with international imports which often are produced at lower costs. That is why imports of seafood are gaining market shares and an economically sustainable production of seafood in Europe is frequently questioned. When aiming at increasing European production, consumers (and retailers as well as further actors of the value chain) play a crucial role. Do they ask for the cheapest product or do they also consider geographic origin and (sustainable) production methods when purchasing seafood?

Previous works show that European consumers are interested in additional product attributes such as sustainability, fish welfare, organic production and local/European origin in combination with seafood, given that general expectations with respect to price and quality are met. Thus the European fisheries sector might use the additional product attributes to open up and broaden respective market segments.

In this context the subproject has the following objectives:

  • Increasing awareness of society and consumers on sustainable European seafood production
  • Analysis of consumers’ awareness and preferences for seafood from European production with the additional attributes of ecological and/or social sustainability
  • Identification of new seafood products with potential for different national markets
  • Identification of promising communication tools.


The subproject comprises three different working packages:

The first work package explores awareness, preferences and willingness to pay for European and sustainably sourced seafood products. The research combines an online survey with a
contingent valuation and is conducted in six European countries.

The second work package aims to identify innovative seafood products. In a first step we select products from a variety of countries/producers. Innovative products don’t necessarily mean new products but also popular products in specific countries with low demand in other countries. For selected species/products Focus Group (FG) discussions are conducted in countries relevant for the chosen cases. The FG for the different case studies follow a common guideline. Where necessary, the guidelines are adjusted in order to better address the country specific situations and different innovative products.  Advantages and disadvantages not only with regard to taste but also with regard to additional information and ways of communication will be discussed. The results will be the basis for a second quantitative online survey.

The third work package focuses on the effectiveness of internet information websites with reference to fisheries. We explore the online presentations of main seafood producers and central information websites (e.g. from France, Germany, Great Britain, Poland and Finland with regard to the information given and its
understandability to consumers.

Our Research Questions

  • How do consumers perceive the European fisheries?
  • What do consumers mean by sustainable fisheries?
  • How are the preferences of European consumers for sustainable seafood from Europe?
  • How can innovations in the European fisheries be successfully communicated to consumers?
  • How consumer-friendly is the online information offer with respect to fisheries?


What do German consumers think about labelling, seafood guides and other information about (sustainable) seafood? Presentation at the EAFE 2017 - English - PDF (1052 KB)

Are consumers interested in sustainable fish from Europe? Presentation at the Aquaculture Europe 2016 - PDF (693 KB)

Consumers' use of online sources related to fish. Presentation at the Aquaculture Europe 2016 - PDF (742 KB)

Consumer perception of aquaculture - insights from 8 European countries - English - PDF (566 KB)

Communicating via Internet with fish consumers - potentials - English - PDF (762 KB)


Deliverable 2.2 -Results on consumer preferences for sustainable seafood products from Europe - Englisch - PDF 

Deliverable 2.3 - Report on possibilities for the improvement of the internet communication on seafood products - Englisch - PDF

Links and Downloads



Involved Thünen-Partners

Involved external Thünen-Partners

Funding Body

  • European Union (EU)
    (international, öffentlich)


4.2015 - 3.2018

More Information

Projekt type:
Project funding number: 635188
Funding program: EU – Horizon 2020 – Societal Challenge "Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Marine, Maritime and Inland Water Research and the Bioeconomy"
Project status: finished


hits: 3

  1. Zander K, Feucht Y (2020) How to increase demand for carp? Consumer attitudes and preferences in Germany and Poland. Brit Food J 122(11):3267-3282, DOI:10.1108/BFJ-11-2019-0875
    pdf document (limited accessibility) 1611 kb
  2. Feucht Y, Zander K, Avdelas L, Galinou-Mitsoudi S, Le Gallic B, Nourry M, Masson E, Pirrone C (2017) "Deliverable: D2.2 : Results on consumer preferences for sustainable seafood products from Europe". Braunschweig: Thünen-Institut
  3. Feucht Y, Zander K (2016) Aquaculture? Consumers' views from 8 European countries - First results from the SUCCESS project [online]. 2 p SUCCESS Special issue Oct. 2016, zu finden in <> [zitiert am 06.01.2017]