Labels to show that seafood has been produced in a sustainable manner are important in some markets, but it is not necessarily the consumers who are driving the trend. Supermarkets and environmental organisations have placed sustainability on the agenda in France and Great Britain.
Labels to show that seafood has been produced in a sustainable manner are important in some markets, but it is not necessarily the consumers who are driving the trend. Supermarkets and environmental organisations have placed sustainability on the agenda in France and Great Britain. Photo: Frank Gregersen/Nofima

Sustainability and environmental labelling

How should seafood producers use information about sustainability in their marketing activities? Market researchers at Nofima survey the attitudes held by market actors and advises about strategies for environmental labelling.

Contact person
Portrettbilde av Pirjo Honkanen
Pirjo Honkanen

Research Director
Phone: +47 915 94 520
pirjo.honkanen@nofima.no

We offer:
  • Advice in environmental labelling
  • Market and marketing knowledge
  • Industry-specific strategy
  • Consumer studies

Marketing researchers at Nofima have long experience in issues related to how various market actors relate to sustainability and environmental labelling, and the selection of sensible strategies. The aim is to identify how the Norwegian seafood industry can best adapt to the concept of sustainability, and how to use this as part of its marketing strategy.

We also carry out research into the ideas, knowledge and attitudes of consumers, both to certified and to organic seafood, in various markets.

Consumers and purchasers – perceptions of sustainability

Sustainability appears to be a long-lived global trend, but different markets place their focus on different types of sustainability.

Social sustainability is important for both purchasers and consumers in France, while the focus is more on environmental sustainability in Great Britain and Germany. Germany generally places stronger certification requirements than other markets. This opens the possibility for differentiation strategies towards  purchasers

Our research has shown that the trend for sustainability is not primarily driven by consumers: it has been created by environmental organisations and supermarkets..

Another project investigated whether labelling fish products as “line-caught” leads to higher prices in the supermarkets. It became clear that packets of frozen cod and haddock obtained 22% higher prices when they were labelled with “line-caught”.

International or Norwegian strategy?

Established international labelling arrangements such as MSC (“Marine Stewardship Council”) currently certify several Norwegian fisheries. Many people believe, however, that it would be better if Norway took care of this itself, but it is not certain that this would be profitable.

Market researchers at Nofima have investigated the possibilities for a Norwegian certification system, and have surveyed attitudes to sustainability in the markets. Our investigations have shown that it is unrealistic to expect to succeed without certification in many important markets, and that the industry must stand unified behind a Norwegian certification and labelling system, if it is to work.

Organic seafood

Nofima is currently working to survey what consumers understand by the term “organic seafood”, and how this should be communicated to consumers.  The aim is to draw up advice and guidelines for how the EU regulations for organic seafood should be formulated. The advice will be based on a scientific review of existing knowledge, supplemented by newly acquired knowledge where needed.

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