The survey, which involved 540 respondents and was carried out in January this year in Germany, found that 66% of consumers thought the date of catch was either “extremely important” or “important”, whereas ethical and social considerations "fall into the middle ground".
TÜV SÜD is a global testing, certification, inspection and training provider.
Currently the information required by law to be provided by producers at the point of purchase includes: the commercial description of the type of fish, the scientific name of the fish, the production method, the fishing area and category of fishing method used, information about defrosting and the best before date.
Over half (55%) of respondents want to see nutritional information displayed on the packaging of fish but this information is voluntary for producers to provide.
The same goes for the date of catch – or date of harvest for fish from aquaculture operations – making freshness and health two key drivers for consumers when buying fish.
The same could not be said, however, for details on the fishing method, the flag state of the vessel or the name of the port, as participants in the survey indicated that this information would not strongly influence them when buying fish.
Ethical and social considerations only scored averagely, although exact figures have not been released by TÜV SÜD.
Nicholas Guichoux, global commercial director at the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), told FoodNavigator that educating the general public on the importance of buying sustainably sourced fish was one of their 2020 goals.
“In Australia, we are working with chefs, NGOs and other partners to really celebrate sustainable seafood and try to explain to the general public that if they choose seafood, it’s important that they look at if it’s coming from a sustainable fishery because of the global problems facing fisheries,” he said.
The most popular fish species consumed in Germany include salmon, pollack, cod, trout and carp.