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Consumers Changing Shopping Habits Due To Environmental Concerns

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New findings released Oct. 5 by the Marine Stewardship Council show that people are changing their diets for environmental reasons as concerns over climate change grow. 

Following a summer of life-threatening heat waves, extreme storms, unprecedented flooding and other weather events exacerbated by climate change, some shoppers are taking control of their impact on the environment through their food choices.

Conducted by independent insights consultancy GlobeScan, the study found that 31 percent of global respondents who said they changed their diet in the past two years did so for a variety of environmental reasons. These include to eat more sustainably sourced food, to reduce climate change impact and to protect the oceans. 

These conscious consumers aim to shop for products that meet their personal environmental values, and a growing group of shoppers strive to be “climatarian” in their decision making. Californians reported the highest number of consumers reporting changing their diets for environmental reasons, at 40 percent, with Pacific Northwesterners not far behind at 39 percent.

Seafood offers a healthy, planet-friendly protein, and a recent study reported that seafood harvesting produces less carbon than the production of meat. Wild-caught seafood was found to have a low carbon footprint due to the lack of land use or need for inputs. Seafood can meet the desires of conscious consumers and climatarians with options in many aisles of the grocery store, and at every price point.

Many food retailers are promoting sustainable seafood during October’s National Seafood Month. At the store, consumer go-to brands like Ducktrap River of Maine, Mrs. Paul’s, Mowi and Van de Kamp’s, among others, carry the Marine Stewardship Council blue fish label. Ecolabels raise trust among shoppers in the brands that carry them, according to the GlobeScan study, with 46 percent of people reporting that they have a high level of trust in MSC claims. 

“Today’s consumers are challenged by what may seem like competing priorities – shopping to decrease impact on the environment, purchasing healthy options and staying on budget. As we head into October Seafood Month, it’s important for shoppers to know that these purchase drivers don’t have to be at odds,” said Nicole Condon, U.S. program director for the Marine Stewardship Council.

“Look for the MSC blue fish logo on seafood products at a variety of price points to know that the seafood was caught in an environmentally sustainable way. We hope the MSC blue fish label can be an integral part of the climatarian diet – a simple but credible solution to finding seafood that is certified sustainable.”

The Marine Stewardship Council is an international non-profit organization which sets recognized standards for sustainable fishing and the seafood supply chain. The MSC ecolabel and certification program recognizes and rewards sustainable fishing practices and is helping create a more sustainable seafood market.

The MSC ecolabel on a seafood product means it comes from a wild-catch fishery that has been independently certified to the MSC’s science-based standard for sustainable fishing. Fisheries representing more than 19 percent of the world’s wild marine catch are engaged in its certification program, and more than 20,000 different MSC labelled products are available on shelves across the globe.

For more information, visit msc.org.

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