FARMED seafood sales in Britain are rising at an impressive rate, but the public may not always be aware what they are buying, a new Seafish market insight report finds.
The report reveals that in the 52 weeks to June 2019 the farmed seafood share of the top five species in the UK totalled 83,301 tonnes and was worth £1.4 billion.
In volume terms, aquaculture accounted for 38.2 per cent of the five best selling seafood types, but was worth considerably more – 55.4 per cent – by value over the same period.
For seafood species of all types, the farmed share was 46 per cent (£1.6 billion) in value and 31 per cent (just over 108,000 tonnes) in volume.
However, the public sometimes holds mistaken views about which types of fish are cultivated and those that are wild caught.
The report states: ‘It may be a surprise for UK shoppers to know how much of the seafood they purchase is farmed, and indeed which species are farmed.
‘Many shoppers are aware of the existence of farmed salmon and prawns, but most assume their purchases are wild caught, as it’s not common practice to have ‘farmed’ in a prominent place on front of pack.
‘Shoppers are less likely to associate aquaculture with other farmed species such as seabass, oysters, mussels and turbot.’
It adds: ‘It’s a common consumer misconception that farmed seafood is a cheap and cheerful option. In 2019, a number of farmed species had an average price over double that of cod or haddock.
‘Of the top five total species, the average price of the farmed species is £15.13 per kg, 83 per cent higher than the average price of the wild caught species (£8.27).
‘As expected, salmon and warm water prawns are the most popular seafood types. In contrast, the decline in the consumption of white fish, which began in the 1980s, continues.’