The concept of ‘Surf ‘n’ Turf’ may have been around for some time but new research from Mintel reveals pairing meat with fish could offer a useful way to encourage younger Brits to buy more fish.

One in six (17%) UK fish or shellfish buyers would be interested in ready-to-cook products combining meat and fish, rising to almost one in three (30%) younger Millennials*.

Furthermore, it seems that the fish market could do with casting a line out to younger consumers as Mintel’s research reveals over half (57%) of 16-24s have not bought any fish or shellfish in the past three months** compared to just one in six (17%) Brits aged over 65. Overall, two in five (39%) have not bought fish or shellfish in the past three months.

Richard Ford, Senior Food Analyst at Mintel, said:

“Suggesting ways to pair fish or shellfish with meat products, or launching more ready-to-cook meat and fish products should help operators appeal to younger consumers.”

Today,

Mintel’s research shows that there is still strong consumer belief in the inclusion of the recommended amount of fish in the diet in the UK.

Over two thirds (70%) of Brits who’ve eaten fish or shellfish in the past three months agree that a healthy diet should include at least two portions of fish a week, rising to four in five (80%) aged 65+ but dropping to just over half (55%) of buyers aged 16 to 24.

“That over two thirds of UK consumers who eat fish and shellfish agree that a healthy diet should include at least two portions of fish a week is good news for the industry. It suggests most consumers see a health benefit to eating fish. Increasing awareness of the two-a-week advice amongst those aged under 25 may help to grow intake if awareness does translate into sales.” continues Richard.

In addition, Mintel’s research shows that in the UK today, frozen fish is the most popular type of seafood, eaten by two thirds (65%) of Brits in the past three months, with 4% eating it a few times a week and 19% once a week.

Overall volume sales of fish and shellfish however have been sinking, dropping from 409 million kg in 2009 to an estimated 364 million kg in 2014. Between 2013 and 2014 alone sales are estimated to fall by 4% from 379 million kg and they are forecast to further drop to just 329 million kg by 2019.

Value sales however have been fuelled by inflation and consumers trading up to added value offerings, rising from £3 billion in 2009 to an estimated £3.4 billion in 2014. Sales are forecast to reach £3.7 billion in 2019.

“Inflation continues to challenge the category as does the fact that fish remains more expensive than other proteins. Adding value through innovation offers one way in which to grow usage by inspiring consumers. Niche and new product concepts, such as pairing seafood with meat products, offering larger chunks of tuna and offering frozen fish pieces suitable for cooking in dishes such as stir-fries, should help to build usage.”

Further to this, over half (53%) of consumers who have bought fish or shellfish in the past three months would prefer to buy fish that has been certified as responsibly sourced, rising to 62% of those aged 25 to 34. Indeed, the market has seen an increase in the number of suppliers and retailers taking steps to use and sell responsibly sourced fish and shellfish with the number of processed fish products launches in the UK bearing an environmentally friendly product claim increasing by 28 percentage points between 2010 and 2014*** to 50%.

“Increasing the sustainability of products also offers a way in which to add value as over half of fish/shellfish buyers prefer to buy fish that has been certified as responsibly sourced. Both retailers and suppliers have recently been proactive in working to improve the sustainability credentials of their seafood, which stands them and the category in good stead.” concludes Richard.

Press review copies of the Fish and Shellfish UK 2014 report and interviews with Senior Food Analyst, Richard Ford, are available on request from the press office.

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