Frozen fish

Encouraging the consumption of frozen fish

By Michelle Chen - 21 November 2012

Understanding what the consumer wants is very important when trying to develop successful new products - but it is also a key component in the promotion of products, including specific product areas. For example, we have recently started work on a challenging project investigating communication approaches that will positively influence the purchase and consumption of frozen fish.

Fish is important to a balanced and healthy diet. The Food Standards Agency recommends that people eat two portions of fish per week, of which one should be oily. Evidence suggests that fish consumption, particularly of oily fish, decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), due to its relatively high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).

However, with pressure on household budgets, maintaining a healthy diet with sufficient fish intake is increasingly difficult for some families. With a relatively lower cost, frozen fish and fish products are healthy alternatives to fresh. Apart from the cost benefit, frozen fish also benefits from being easy to store, easy to cook and requiring less preparation. In terms of nutritional value and taste, fish that has been frozen at the point of capture can offer the same quality as, and in some cases better, than the fresh equivalent.

To develop these messages and encourage more purchasing and consumption of frozen fish, we are exploring the application of new research methods, including observational approaches such as Eye Tracking, to better understand how to engage and influence consumers in terms of behavioural change.

In the eye-tracking method, the consumer sits at a computer screen where low levels of infra red light are shone on to their face from emitters located at the base of the screen. A sensor bar containing high resolution digital cameras captures that reflected by the consumer's eyes. Analysis software determines where each eye was looking at a rate of 50 times per second.

To see the eye-tracking software in action have a look at the video clip here.

If you are interested in learning more about this project or getting involved, we would be keen to hear from you.

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