A study of the behavioural variables influencing consumer acceptability of fish and fish products
The UK fishing industry has been fraught with difficulties over the past decade in the form of increased fuel prices, the imposition of catching quotas and the extension of Icelandic fishing grounds. In addition to thesep roblems,d emandf or fish in the LTKa ppearsto be in long term decline and Largely because of consumers rejection of many potentially edible species, and resistance to products containing fish. Yet few studies have attempted to identify the factors which determine acceptability of fish and fish products in the UK. This thesis addresses the issue of food choice and behaviour from the consumers perspective, identifying market trends in demand since 1977 and the current 'profile' of fish consumers. This is followed by qualitative research to identify the main issues which determine food acceptability with specific reference to fish, and the way in which fish fits into meal patterns. This work is then complemented by a study into food usage in one hundred households over a two week period, using food diaries to identify specific use of fish across meals and to verify some of the qualitative findings., A national survey of attitudes towards meat and fish helps to substantiate the qualitative findings and identify salient factors in food choice. The main findings highlight the restricted place of fish in the UK meal system and emphasise the importance of considering the overall appropriateness of fish for meal occasions. Fish is generally perceived as having a limited number of uses within the overall pattern of meals, and not to fit into the most common meal formats. The nature of meal occasions is changing as a consequence of wider social change. As major food events become less formalised, new opportunities are likely to arise for convenient fish products.