Seafood perceptions among people aged 55 and above - focus group results

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
Seafood perceptions among people aged 55 and above - focus group results
Series Title:
FAMRC Industry Report 09-1
Physical Description:
Book
Language:
English
Creator:
Wysocki, Allen
House, Lisa
Messina, William
Publisher:
Florida Agricultural Market Research Center
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:
2009

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
System ID:
AA00000200:00001


This item is only available as the following downloads:


Full Text




UF UNIVERSITY of
FLORIDA
IFAS




SEAFOOD PERCEPTIONS AMONG PEOPLE AGED 55 AND ABOVE -
FOCUS GROUPS RESULTS




By

Allen Wysocki, Lisa House, and William Messina


FAMRC Industry Report 09-1



February 26, 2009



Florida Agricultural Market Research Center
Food and Resource Economics Department
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611











Table of Contents


M eth o d o lo g y ............................................................................. 1
W ord A association Findings ..................................................... ...................................... 3
D discussion of Seafood C onsum option ............................................................. ........................ 7

Factors that Affect Seafood Purchases and Consumption ................................................. 11

A advice to the Seafood Indu story ........................................................................... ....................14


List of Tables

Page

Table 1: Demographics of Focus Groups by Location and Seafood Consumption
P referen ce ....................................................... 2
Table 2: Income by Area and Seafood Consumption Preferences ..............................................2

Table 3: Word Association Results by Focus Group Location ................................................. 4

Table 4: Seafood Consumption Questions by Area and Seafood Consumption Preference ..........8

Table 5: Familiarity with Seafood Species by Area and Seafood Consumption Preference ........10

Table 6: Attitudes toward Country of Origin and Seafood Consumption Preferences .................11

Table 7: Factors that Affect Seafood Purchases and Consumption ...........................................12

Table 8: A dvice to the Seafood Industry .............................................. ............................ 15









SEAFOOD PERCEPTIONS AMONG PEOPLE AGED 55 AND ABOVE -
FOCUS GROUPS RESULTS



Methodology

By its very nature, focus group work is not designed to prove statistical validity or causal
relationships. The power of focus group research is its ability to probe deep into the underlying
reasons driving the purchasing behavior of target audience consumers. Focus groups are
commonly used in marketing research. Participants are typically individuals in the target
population. Focus groups let participants react to information in a non-structured environment.
However, discussion guidelines and elaborate moderating techniques help minimize bias. The
rationale is to gain the most non-redundant information in a short period of time. Focus group
research is not used to collect large amounts of data, but as an input into a full picture of
consumer tastes and perceptions. To use focus groups alone to tackle the task of understanding
consumer attitudes would not be a cost-efficient method. However, when used in combination
with future quantitative analysis, such as a telephone survey, focus groups can provide the
needed input for developing/phrasing of questions.

In this study, six focus groups were held, four in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties area and
two in Hillsborough County, Florida in October and November, 2007. Each focus group
consisted of between 7 and 10 participants and lasted 90 minutes in length. These groups were
designed to get participants to think and discuss in-depth the how, when, where, how-often, and
why behind their decisions to purchase, or not purchase, seafood. This was accomplished by the
following focus group agenda:

Introductions (to build rapport)
Ice breaker (to zone in on seafood)
Discussion of seafood consumption (To better understand how, when, where, how
often, and why consumers purchase products in the seafood category. This included a
discussion regarding consumption sites, forms of seafood consumed, types of
seafood they could recall, food/nutrition concerns, most important criteria for
seafood purchase decision, factors that affect seafood consumption, and if
respondents care where their seafood comes from.)
Advice focus group participants would give to the seafood industry (participants
were asked what advice they would give to the seafood industry to increase seafood
consumption.)
Brief demographic questionnaire (To quantify selected demographic variables of
the participants.)
Wrap up (To answer any remaining questions the participants might have and to
further explain the purpose of this research.)









Each location was split into groups being comprised of seafood consumers and non-seafood
consumers. The focus groups targeted people 55 years of age and older, with an effort made to
obtain focus group participants across the 55-75 year old range. Table 1 provides a demographic
description of the focus groups.

Table 1: Demographics of Focus Groups by Location and Seafood Consumption
Preference


Average consumption of
seafood per week


Average
age


No. In
Household


Miami Area Consumers 2.1 63 2.0
Miami Area Lite- 0.7 60 2.1
Consumers
Tampa Area Consumers 2.9 62 1.8
Tampa Area Non- 0.1 65 2.3
Consumers


Focus group participants (primary shoppers in their household) were predominantly female, and
most participants were Caucasian (only 5 out of 55 focus group participants were non-white).
The average number of people in each household across all focus group participants was 2.2. The
largest percentage (30.7%) of focus group participants reported income in the range of $50,000 -
$100,000 (Table 2). The distribution of income is representative of the population in the Miami
and Tampa areas for this age group.

Table 2: Income by Area and Seafood Consumption Preferences

In $1,000s 100 or No
In s 0-20 20-30 30-50 50-100 or No Total
more Answer

Miami Area Consumers 3.6% 10.8% 12.6% 10.9% 10.8% 48.7%

Miami Area Lite-
Miami Area Lite- 1.9% 3.6% 7.2% 1.9% 14.6%
Consumers

Tampa Area Consumers 1.9% 1.9% 1.9% 9.0% 3.6% 18.3%

Tampa Area Non-
1.9% 5.5% 3.5% 5.5% 1.9% 100%
Consumers

Total 1.9% 11.0% 18.2% 30.7% 23.6% 12.7% 100%









Word Association Findings


Participants were asked to respond to a series of words related to the consumption of seafood
(Table 3) to set the stage for the rest of the focus group. When asked to respond to the words
"fish" and "shellfish," people who consume seafood quickly listed a number of specific species
such as crab, grouper, lobster, salmon, shrimp, and snapper. Those who were lite or non-
consumers spoke of unpleasant experiences, smelly fish, and getting sick from consuming
seafood.

When asked about catfish, the participants were mixed in their views. Some grew up with catfish
and considered catfish a delicacy, while others labeled catfish as "yuk" and bottom feeders, and
something that was pond or farm raised, a negative for these participants.

The term finfish confused participants. This is certainly not part of the typical participant's
everyday vocabulary. Many responded by saying "don't all fish have fins." The industry would
do well to avoid using this term when dealing with the general public.

The term seafood was usually understood by this time in the focus group to mean the
combination of finfish and shellfish. There was some sense (not overwhelming) that these
particular focus group participants might associate seafood more with the ocean than with fresh
water. This may be in part due to the fact that many of the participants were not from Florida
originally, but from the upper Northeastern United States for the Miami area groups and from the
upper Midwestern United States for the Tampa area groups.

Wild caught meant better for you, fewer chemicals, and better tasting to some of the participants.
Other participants said wild caught brought up images of paying more, uncertainty regarding
mercury levels, and a gamier taste. Alaskan salmon was the most commonly associated seafood
species with the term wild caught.

The term farm-raised conjured up controlled environments, use of antibiotics, and recent bad
press that pointed out problems with farm-raised fish. Not all participants shared this viewpoint.
For some participants, farm-raised is a pure and clean product, one backed by considerable
research, and a product that is good for you.

Aquaculture is another term that does not easily communicate to consumers. Participants thought
it had something to do with water, while other said it had to do with growing plants for
aquariums. In general, there is a mixed reaction to farm-raised or aquaculture practices.

The term fresh brought out the greatest emotion in the participants. Fresh meant off the boat, to
the customer's plate the same day. Fresh is what all participants strived for when selecting
seafood for purchase or consumption.

If fresh is the holy grail of the seafood business, processed is the opposite in the minds of
consumers. Most participants associated processed with altering a product for the worse, taking










all the good stuff out, using additives, combining pieces of fish scraps to make a larger piece.
While the majority of participants were turned off by the term processed, some knew that
processing is an integral part of the seafood industry. There seems to be tolerance for processes
such as flash freezing and many participants indicated they purchased fresh shrimp, when in fact,
it was processed, using flash freezing.

Organic generally means healthy and more natural to the participants, the way things used to be
grown and raised before "all these chemicals." Some participants were less enthusiastic about
organic products, especially when discussing seafood. There was confusion as to what
constitutes organic seafood. As one participant put it "isn't all wild-caught seafood organic?"

Perhaps the most interesting finding from the word association exercise was the lack of
knowledge regarding sustainability. When asked what sustainable means, the majority of
participants said it had to with increasing shelf life or maintaining flavor longer. The seafood
industry would do well to educate consumers about the meaning of sustainability relative to
seafood before using this wording on packaging.

Table 3: Word Association Results by Focus Group Location

Miami Area Miami Area Tampa Area Tampa Area
Consumers Lite-Consumers Consumers Non-Consumers
Fish Brim; Flounder; Cod; Crab cakes; Catfish; Redfish;
Grouper; King Fish; Dolphin; Flounder; Salmon; Snook;
Lobster; Roughy; Raw fish; Salmon; Tilapia; Trout; Tuna
Salmon; Shrimp; Sea bass; Seafood;
Snapper; Squid; Scrod; Shrimp;
Tilapia; Tuna Tilapia

Fried; Healthy; FL
Keys; Light food; Arthur Treacher's; Jaws; Mercury;
Nutritious; Swim Broiled; Dinner; Sickness; Smelly;
Farm-raised; Fried; Strong; Water; Yuk
Grilled; Ocean;
Saut6ed; Wild
Shellfish Clams; Crab; Lobster; Conch; Crab Legs; Clams; Lobster; Bottom feeders; Crab;
Maine Lobster; Crawfish; Lobster; Mussels; Oysters; Lobster; Oysters;
Oysters; Shrimp; Mussels; Oysters; Shrimp Scallop; Shrimp
Snails; Stone Crab Scallops; Shrimp;
Stone Crab
Catfish Eat their young; All you can eat; Bottom feeder; Best- Bad memories; Bland;
Farm-raised; Great; I Bottom creature; fried; Catch out back Bottom feeders-mud
like it; Pond-raised; Delicacy; Good; yard; Cute; Difference fish; Gross; Ocean
Same day; Thick & Fabulous; Farm- b/t fresh & saltwater; catfish
Oily; 178 lbs raised dirt; Never Farm raised better
liked it; Nuggets; than river caught;
Toilet; Yuk Hush puppies










Miami Area Miami Area Tampa Area Tampa Area
Consumers Lite-Consumers Consumers Non-Consumers
Fin Fish Confusion as to what Confusion (don't all Most fish have fins;
this is (thought all fish fish have fins?)
had fins)

Catfish; Dolphin; Shark
Finnan Haddie (Dish); Dolphin; Flying Fish; Blue gills-sunfish;
Flounder; Marlin; Sail Fish; Salmon; Koi; Dolphin; Perch;
Salmon; Shark Shark; Snapper; Swim in ponds;
Trout; Tuna; Tilapia
Yellowtail
Seafood Did not ask; but they Bouillabaisse; Did not ask; but they Bad smell; Caution;
understood both fin C ho"\ dci Codfish; understood both fin Restaurants; Salty;
and shellfish by this Fish; Mahi-Mahi; and shellfish by this Unappetizing
time Scallops; Shellfish time
from ocean
Cook anyway you
like it; Fresh water;
Ft. Lauderdale
Seafood House;
Healthy; Oceans;
Pasta w/ seafood; Red
Lobster
Wild Caught Original way to get Anything in the Anything not farm- Gamey; Healthier
seafood; Deep sea; ocean; Better; Fresh- raised; Catch them in In general; this term
Hard to get; Healthier not full of chemicals; the wild; Mercury did not resonate
to eat; worried about Healthy; Lot of work; concerns; More
mercury; Once you More expensive; Not expensive; Not all
eat wild salmon-never farm-raised understood wild
go back; Wild has a caught; Some don't
better flavor ask for wild caught

Alaskan Salmon; Salmon Salmon from Alaska-
Hogfish; Snapper; best (newspaper
Trout story)
Farm-Raised Controlled; More Catfish; Doesn't mean As good as wild- Catfish; More healthy
mercury; More toxins; anything; Enhanced caught; Catfish; (recent bad press);
Smells up the house with antibiotics; More Clean; Consistent; Salmon; Tilapia
control; Not natural; Research-based; Used
Pure and clean; to be bland-not any
Recent bad press; more
Tanks in the ocean;
Unnatural
Aquaculture Farming in the water; Controlled Seemed to be more Commercialized; Fish
Mercury builds up environment- cleaner; educated about this; farming; New
over time; Something H20 connection; Farm-raised; Plants industry &
to do w/ H20; Studies Raising & breeding for aquariums; technology; Many










Miami Area Miami Area Tampa Area Tampa Area
Consumers Lite-Consumers Consumers Non-Consumers
on farm-raised fish- fish; Way to save fish Shrimp never heard of this vs.
lower mercury; from extinction agriculture
Would eat more fish
if not for mercury
Fresh Buy off the fishing No odor; Not frozen; Fresh caught; Get it
boats; Same-day Not processed; cooked; Good; Now;
caught; Eat quickly; Quicker; Short time Prefer over processed;
From ocean to the from catch to Unfrozen;
pan; Looks & smells customer Unprocessed
good; Nothing really
fresh anymore; Shore
lunch; Short time to
market; Today-not
frozen; Unfrozen
Processed Additives; Anything Additives; Altered in All the good stuff Additives; Chemicals;
with chemicals; some way; Chemicals taken out (disagree Guess what is inside;
Avoid if possible; to make food last cereal good for you); Removal of good
Bread; Canned tuna; longer; Combined fish Clean up-get product stuff; Treated &
Cheese; Chemicals pieces; May or may ready for altered; Unhealthy
added; Frozen keep not be bad-may filter consumption; Should
nutritional value out bad stuff; Not as use another word
better; Grains; pure-manipulated; besides processed;
Imitation Crab meat; Not healthy; Not Want your fish to be
Flour; Little pieces interested; Prepared; fresh-frozen (group
combined; Not real Take fresh and do not sure what this
fish; Pasta something to it; Word means)
that makes you
wonder
Organic Corn fed?; Costs Expensive; Fad; Healthier; Marketing Controlled
more; Fresh; Health freaks eat it; ploy; More expensive; environment;
Healthier; Natural; Is Healthy; How it used Over used term; W/O Healthier; More
it for real?; Skeptical- to be-before all these fertilizer expensive
way to charge more; chemicals; Less
What does natural additives; More
really mean?; W/O natural; More purely
pesticides fed; No chemicals;
Rip-off; Skeptical-
person laughed
Sustainable Corn gas-ethanol; Longer shelf life; More educated group; Longer shelf life;
Deadliest catch TV Reach a certain level All seafood may need Preserve something;
show; Get you of freshness; Save our to come from Will last; Will hold up
through the day; Keep food stocks; Smoked aquaculture some day;
well; Keep you fish more sustainable- Blue pike from Lake
healthier; Taste & lasts longer; Staying Erie; More of a
freshness is power; Stays fresh business & marketing
sustainable; Vacuum- longer term; Red flag-are









Miami Area Miami Area Tampa Area Tampa Area
Consumers Lite-Consumers Consumers Non-Consumers
packed-canned tuna; their preservatives
Will stay fresh used?; Replenish what
longer-long lasting you take; Taking one
claw from a stone
crab; Wild caught not
sustainable with
current practices


Discussion of Seafood Consumption

Participants were asked to describe their seafood consumption attitudes and preferences (Tables
4 6). Participants from Miami were more likely to purchase seafood from specialty seafood
houses than participants in the Tampa area. This may be due in part to the influence of the
Northeastern United States, where many of the Miami participants were born and raised,
compared to the upper Midwest roots for the participants from Tampa. Participants indicated that
there were less specialty seafood houses in the Tampa area, compared to Miami. When it comes
to purchasing salmon, Costco has a specific and excellent reputation for quality and value.

Participants were split as to where they consume their seafood. Consuming seafood at restaurants
has an edge over purchasing seafood to be prepared and consumed at home. There are a lot of
factors that might explain this, including the avoidance of odor from cooking seafood, and the
perceived time it takes to prepare and cook seafood. Participants indicated they would be more
likely to purchase shellfish at a restaurant than they would be to purchase it to take home to
prepare it themselves.

The influence of others in a household on the purchasing or consumption habits of seafood was
as expected. Most of the primary shoppers interviewed indicated they tried to accommodate the
tastes and preferences of people in their household when purchasing seafood. In some cases this
meant not purchasing seafood because the significant other did not like the smell or taste (Table
4).

Seafood based traditions exist, but do not appear to be as universal as other food-based traditions
like turkey at Thanksgiving and ham at Easter. Seafood-based traditions included bakala, gefilte
fish, seven fishes, boiled crabs, and gumbo.

When asked how seafood is best prepared, there were a range of answers. In general, the first
suggestion tended to be broiled (filets), or baked. Seafood consumers shy away from consuming
seafood with a lot of breading, while the lite users tended to prefer seafood in breading. One
might argue that the breading makes consuming the seafood more tolerable (Table 4).










Many of the participants believed they could meet fishing boats returning to the docks and
purchase fresh fish directly from these boats. This is contradictory to state law. In some cases,
these fishing boats may be owned by friends and family that have caught seafood.


Table 4: Seafood Consumption Questions by Area and Seafood Consumption Preference

Miami Area Miami Area Tampa Area Tampa Area
Consumers Lite-Consumers Consumers Non-Consumers
Supermarkets; Costco Salmon; More apt to
Where do you purchase
Fish markets Less likely to use purchase from
seafood for
(more prominent specialty fish grocery stores
consumption at home?
in this group) houses
Mostly Don't consume a 50/50 balance If they consume
Where do you consume Restaurant-40%; lot of seafood; seafood, more
the majority of your Mostly Home More likely to eat likely to be at a
seafood? 30%; Both H and seafood at a restaurant
R- 30% restaurant
Suggestion of Focus on health & Most More apt to have
selected species, organic drives accommodate one family
Most purchases; Most household member dislike
accommodate accommodate member's seafood, causing
Influence of others on
household household preferences; Who others to eat less
your seafood purchases
member's member's is shopping seafood
preferences; If I preferences; Who chooses
cook it, they eat it is shopping
chooses
Bakala; Gefilte Bakala; Gefilte fish Not as entrenched None mentioned;
fish for Jewish for Jewish as other foods; Seasonal impacts:
Passover; Fish Passover; Mail Scallops w/ when cold look
fries in lent; Mail order (Legal bacon; for comfort food
Seafood-based order (Legal Seafood); 7 fishes Summertime at
traditions Seafood); Smelt at at Christmas; beach; 7 fishes at
Christmas; Boiled Gumbo, Creole Christmas; More
crabs at reunions likely to splurge if
company over for
a meal
Poached; Baked; Baked; Broiled; Baked; Broiled; For some, nuggets
Broiled; Grilled; Fried Coated (coconut); okay, covered in
Deep fry (some Deep-fried; Fried; batter; De-veined
resistance to this Grilled shrimp okay; Still
How best prepared?
at home b/c of believe sting rays
smell/mess; Wine used for scallops;
sauce Broiled is
tolerable
Filet most Little discussion on More apt to try Very little seafood
Forms of seafood popular; this new types of consumed or
purchased/consumed? Occasional whole seafood at a purchased by this
fish (hard to know restaurant than at group; Tend to










Miami Area Miami Area Tampa Area Tampa Area
Consumers Lite-Consumers Consumers Non-Consumers
how to prepare); home; Canned purchase more
If you fish, your tuna not seafood; shellfish than
spouse wants it Purchase seafood finfish if they
cleaned first; Crab directly from purchase at all;
cakes; Most fishing boats they This group is
believe they can know; Equally unlikely to
purchase seafood split b/t fin fish experiment with
directly from and shellfish different species
fishing boats; consumption of seafood; Did
Canned tuna not not like the idea of
generally regarded sushi or "under-
as seafood; cooked" fish
Shellfish more
common at a
restaurant (ease of
cooking & dining
experience)



Canned tuna is generally not lumped in with other types of seafood and the stated times per week
the participants consume seafood is believed not to include any consumption of canned tuna. In
general, participants were very familiar with the different seafood species that are available for
purchase or consumption. Table 5 begins with the complete list of seafood the moderators had
and the detail in the exhibit indicates which specific species of seafood the participants had not
named and were not familiar with or had not named and were familiar with. The seafood
industry would do well to educate consumers on the various seafood species and their best uses.

The moderators attempted to see what role country of origin played in seafood purchase and
consumption decisions (Table 6). Where seafood comes from does matter in some cases. For
example, seafood from China was always given the thumbs down. Much of this may be due to
recent news stories of recalls from China. Seafood from Latin and South America depended on
past experiences of the participants. Generally, the participants were favorable, but cautious,
citing lack of knowledge of standards and procedures. Respondents' attitudes were very
favorable towards seafood from Norway, Maine, and Alaska. When participants were asked
about purchasing seafood from Florida waters, the reaction was usually positive, but not as
strong as from a state like Alaska.










Table 5: Familiarity with Seafood Species by Area and Seafood Consumption Preference

Participants were asked to name all the kinds of seafood they could think of. This is a list of potential
seafood species: Alligator (while this is not seafood, it was included to see how it was viewed by the
participants), Amberjacks, Blue Crab, Catfish, Clams, Flounder, Golden Tile, Grouper, Grunts, Jack
Crevalle, King Mackerel, Mahi-Mahi, Mullet, Oysters, Pompano, Porgies, Shark, Shrimp Snapper,
Spanish Mackerel, Spiny Lobster, Stone Crab, Swordfish, Tilapia, Tuna, Whiting
Miami Area Miami Area Tampa Area Tampa Area
Consumers Lite-Consumers Consumers Non-Consumers
Grunts Amberjack Whiting Amberjack
Golden Tile Grunts Grunts
Jack Crevalle Golden Tile Tile
Seafood species
Porgies Jack Crevalle Spiny Lobster
not named and
not familiar Spiny lobster Porgies (most did not
not familiar
(some knew this as Whiting know this was
FL lobster) from FL)
Whiting
Alligator Alligator Alligator The group has
Amberjack Blue Crab Spiny lobster heard about most
Blue Crab King/Spanish (some knew this as of the species
Catfish Mackerel FL lobster, some
Seafood species
King/Spanish Mullet (most think did not)
not named, but
Mackerel of this as bait)
familiar
Mullet (most think Pompano
of this as bait) Shark
Pompano Stone Crab
Stone Crab Spiny lobster
Comments Alligator: good if prepared properly
about specific Crab: expensive and good if you had enough to drink
species from Clams/Oysters: Yuk associated with sickness
non-consumers Mackerel: too strong a taste and oily










Table 6: Attitudes toward Country of Origin and Seafood Consumption Preferences

Miami Area Miami Area Tampa Area Tampa Area
Consumers Lite-Consumers Consumers Non-Consumers
Alaska Excellent Good Excellent Good for salmon
Latin America Very Good Depends on the Overall, very Indifferent
(Chile, country and the positive
Caribbean, person's
Ecuador) perception
Canada Excellent Excellent Excellent Good
China Risky recalls No way Very skeptical Very skeptical
Absolutely Could be, some Absolutely Mixed; Could be
Florida safety questions some safety
concerns
Japan Excellent
S. Good Okay, some Mixed Known for
Louisiana
reservation crawfish & shrimp
Excellent Excellent Reminds them of
Norway fish
fish
Northeast U.S. Excellent Good Excellent Known for lobster
Vietnam Acceptable Skeptical Skeptical
Sometimes a Commented more
matter of name on species when
recognition and asked about
Additional flavor (Maine country, not
Comments lobster); Problem surprising as they
of unknown don't
regulations of purchase/consume
other countries any seafood



Factors that Affect Seafood Purchases and Consumption

A primary objective of the focus group process was to identify those factors that drive purchase
and consumption of seafood. Table 7 is a summary of these factors as described by focus group
participants.


The industry can take a proactive role in educating consumers about seafood, from differences
between species to addressing health concerns. A common theme, especially among lite and non-
consumers was their awareness of "bad press" relating to seafood. Stories of high levels of
mercury or worries about the safety of the seafood caught in Florida waters strike doubt in the
minds of these consumers.










Participants indicated that familiarity or lack of familiarity with a given seafood species drives
purchase and consumption decisions. If they are not familiar with a given species, it doesn't
matter what the price is, as they are unlikely to purchase or try it at a restaurant.

Another important factor in the purchase and consumption decisions of these participants was
appearance. If the filet looks dried out or translucent, this signals lowered quality and therefore a
no-buy decision.

The role of tradition, past experiences, and habit are almost hard-wired into the purchase and
consumption decisions of these participants. Stories of eating food that was constantly over-
cooked or the time when a participant got sick after consuming seafood were deep emotions and
a definite barrier to future sales. Interestingly, some focus group participants indicated that they
have increased their consumption of seafood since moving to Florida, while others indicated they
have not significantly changed their seafood eating habits. Most of the focus group participants
have lived in Florida for more than 15 years and consider themselves Floridians.

For seafood consumers, the price of seafood tends to cause them to switch from one species of
seafood to another instead of away from seafood. For the non-consumers, price is not an
important factor, as they usually are not pre-disposed to purchasing or consuming seafood.
Seafood consumers rely heavily on the reputation of specialty seafood houses, their regular
grocery stores, and specialty seafood restaurants when deciding whether or not to purchase or
consume seafood.

Taste, texture, odor, or lack thereof, are important considerations for seafood consumers and
seafood non-consumers alike. For consumers, the right taste and odor signals the freshness and
quality of a particular piece of seafood, a decision of what species to buy verses not buying any
seafood. For the non-consumer, taste and odor are constant reminders of why they don't
consume more seafood, an obstacle that is hard for the industry to overcome at times, given the
nature of seafood.

Table 7: Factors that Affect Seafood Purchases and Consumption
Miami Area Miami Area Tampa Area Tampa Area
Consumers Lite-Consumers Consumers Non-Consumers
Bones (don't like them); Appearance of whole fish
If frozen don't know how and fish heads in soup is
old the product is, a turn off; Must look
Changes the taste, Used good to purchase
w/ shrimp
Bad press: very Bad press: very
concerned about what concerned about what
they read about seafood they read about seafood
Budget constraints Price: needs to be Budget constraints










Miami Area Miami Area Tampa Area Tampa Area
Consumers Lite-Consumers Consumers Non-Consumers
inexpensive
Expiration dates Important to product age
important
Familiarity: how to If they are not familiar Some lack of knowledge
prepare or get what you with a given species, for cooking in this group
expect from restaurant won't buy; If not cooked contributes to non-
properly= rubbery consumption
Food safety Some worried about A big concern; Seafood
grouper from FL waters highly perishable requires
a lot of planning to buy
and cook right away
Freshness or perceived Needs to look fresh, not Freshness or perceived Very concerned about
freshness (flash frozen is dried out, et freshness (flash frozen is freshness of food in
still fresh); Buy in small still fresh) general
quantities to keep fresh
Habit (seafood expensive, Habit and ethnic Habits important, past Habits important in non-
don't experiment) background; Grew up a experiences seafood
meat eater purchase/consumption
Hard to take seafood to Prep time is perceived to Long prep time is a
work for lunch be long problem
Living in FL increased Life experiences have not
consumption led to a change in
consumption of seafood
after moving to FL
Past experiences (positive Past experiences: mother Key factor for this group
& negative) that overcooked from sickness, to little
everything, tuna and boat exposure to seafood at
motor effects home to seeing worms in
filets; Lobster eating
party was a turn-off
Price causes a switch Generally, are Lite- Price causes a switch Look for sales on food
from one species to Consumers b/c of things from one species to
another, not away from other than price another, not away from
seafood seafood
Reputation: trust stores Less likely to shop Sound of something
that specialize in seafood specialty seafood stores called a catfish is
over grocery stores or a (less of them in Tampa) disgusting
chef that knows seafood;
From local fish captain
only; Costco has great
reputation for salmon:
quality & price; Not a
crazy about specialty fish
houses
Smell too strong Smell = old = bad Dislike smell of seafood;
Too strong for them









Miami Area Miami Area Tampa Area Tampa Area
Consumers Lite-Consumers Consumers Non-Consumers
Taste Flavor important Don't like the taste
Smelly fish departments Don't like smelly homes Don't like smelly homes Dislike smell, especially
a deterrent to cooking at
home
Texture (some like firmer Squid and lobster are
filet); Look for certain chewy
cuts of filet
Value-added: some Expect retailer to open a Tough sell as most in this
retailers will cook fish for package if requested group dislike seafood
you; De-vein the shrimp



Advice to the Seafood Industry

Focus group participants were asked to put themselves into the role of consultants to the seafood
industry and to state what advice they would give to increase seafood purchase and consumption
(Table 8).

All four categories of focus group participants felt the industry needed to invest more in
advertising the health benefits and the wide variety of seafood available. Participants noted the
various ways they obtain information including newspapers, the food channel, magazines, in-
store demonstrations and programs such as the Aprons program at Publix, and internet-based
newsletters delivered directly to individual email inboxes.

The industry would do well to increase the consistency of product (e.g., same-sized filets in a
package) and knowledge of specific species for the parts of the industry that interact directly
with consumers (e.g., people working for retailers and restaurants). Freshness is king with
seafood and successful companies will document their freshness and incorporate sources of
inspections and certifications that consumers trust. The industry needs to work with retailers to
improve the appearance and odor of fish counters. At the same time, retailers must not
overpower seafood odor with a cleaner odor such as bleach, as this is a turnoff to consumers as
well.

The industry should continue to find ways to educate consumers on differences regarding
preparation, cooking and potential uses on a species-by-species basis. When focus group
participants were shown the species specific information brochures created by FDACS, they
loved them. They liked the fact the brochures had pictures (some debate as to the picture of the
whole fish or should it be a picture of what the consumer is likely to see in a retail setting such as
a filet), safe handling instructions and recipes.










Table 8: Advice to the Seafood Industry
Miami Area Miami Area Tampa Area Tampa Area
Consumers Lite-Consumers Consumers Non-Consumers
Advertise more; Leverage Advertise benefits of Internet could be used Need more advertising
common brand names in Florida seafood more, more about seafood and how to
seafood back up with proof of Be honest about the prepare; Sources of
claims processes used; Seafood information: local papers,
festivals are a good idea the food channel (seldom
do chefs use seafood),
email from companies
such as Campbell's,
magazines, internet,
bookstores, flyers and
recipes on products, store
programs such as Aprons,
cookbooks
Consistency of product Make sure quality control Quality is a must;
and knowledge is good Seafood has a "dirty
throughout food chain industry" image

Coupons to encourage
trial

Freshness is key Freshness is a must

Mercury concerns

Packaging: need to see Needs to be neat and Attractive and Find a way to reduce the
the product (counter to sanitary informative makes a blast of fish smell when
freshness?); Concerned difference opening a sealed package
about fish that is not
packaged

Pricing: stay competitive
with other protein options

Samples and recipe cards Cooking instructions Samples and recipe cards Samples important in
needed would help needed; Wanted species general, may be limited
specific ideas in seafood

Smelly seafood areas are Don't like a bleach smell
a turnoff as this signals cover-up

Trust: inspections, Need to be able to trust Need assurances that
USDA, date product; the supplier to deliver seafood is safe and fresh
Certification important what is stated

Warnings on packages
reduce purchase
(pregnant women should
avoid)




Full Text

PAGE 1

SEAFOOD PERCEPTIONS AMONG PEOPLE AGED 55 AND ABOVE FOCUS GROUPS RESULTS By Allen Wysocki, Lisa House, and William Messina FAMRC Industry Report 09 1 February 26, 2009 Florida Agricultural Market Research Center Food and Resource Economics Department Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

PAGE 2

i Table of Contents Page Methodology ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 1 Word Association Findings ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 3 Discussion of Seafood Consumption ................................ ................................ .............................. 7 Factors that Affect Seafood Purchases and Consumption ................................ ............................ 11 Advice to the Seafood Industry ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 14 List of Tables Page Table 1: Demographics of Focus Groups by Location and Seafood Consumption Preference ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 2 Table 2: Income by Area and Seafood Consumption Preferences ................................ ................. 2 Table 3: Word Association Results by Focus Group Location ................................ ....................... 4 Table 4: Seafood Consumption Questions by Area and Seafood Consumption Preference .......... 8 Table 5: Famil iarity with Seafood Species by A r ea and Seafood Consumption Preference ........ 10 Table 6: Attitudes toward Country of Origin and Seafood Consumption Preferences ................. 11 Table 7: Factors that Affect Seafood Purchases and Consumption ................................ .............. 12 Table 8: Advice to the Seafood Industry ................................ ................................ ...................... 15

PAGE 3

1 SEAFOOD PERCEPTIONS AMONG PEOPLE AGED 55 AND ABOVE FOCUS GROUPS RESULTS Methodology By its very nature, focus group work is not designed to prove statistical validity or causal relationships. The power of focus group research is its ability to probe deep into the underlying reasons driving the purchasing behavior of target audience consum ers. Focus groups are commonly used in marketing research. Participants are typically individuals in the target population. Focus groups let participants react to information in a non structured environment. However, discussion guidelines and elaborate mod erating techniques help minimize bias. The rationale is to gain the most non redundant information in a short period of time. Focus group research is not used to collect large amounts of data, but as an input into a full picture of consumer tastes and perc eptions. To use focus groups alone to tackle the task of understanding consumer attitudes would not be a cost efficient method. However, when used in combination with future quantitative analysis, such as a telephone survey, focus groups can provide the needed input for developing/phrasing of questions. In this study, s ix focus groups were held, fou r in Palm Beach and Miami Dade C ountie s area and two in Hillsborough C ounty, Florida in October and November, 2007. Each focus group consisted of between 7 and 10 participants and lasted 90 minutes in length. These groups were designed to get participants to think and discuss in depth the how, when, where, how often, and why behind their decisions to purchase, or not purchase, seafood. This was accomplished by t he following focus group agenda: Introductions (to build rapport) Ice breaker (to zone in on seafood) Discussion of seafood consumption (To better understand how, when, where, how often, and why consumers purchase products in the seafood category. This inc luded a discussion regarding consumption sites, forms of seafood consumed, types of seafood they could recall, food/nutrition concerns, most important criteria for seafood purchase decision, factors that affect seafood consumption, and if respondents care where their seafood comes from.) Advice focus group participants would give to the seafood industry (participants were asked what advice they would give to the seafood industry to increase seafood consumption.) Brief demographic questionnaire (To quantify selected demographic variables of the participants.) Wrap up (To answer any remaining questions the participants might have and to further explain the purpose of this research.)

PAGE 4

2 Each location was split into groups being comprised of seafood consumers and non seafood consumers. The focus groups targeted people 55 years of age and older with an effort made to obtain focus group participants across the 55 75 year old range. Table 1 provides a demographic description of the focus groups. Table 1: Demographics of Focus Groups by Location and Seafood Consumption Preference Average consumption of seafood per week Average age No. In Household Miami Area Consumers 2.1 63 2.0 Miami Area Lite Consumers 0.7 60 2.1 Tampa Area Consumers 2.9 62 1.8 Tampa Area Non Consumers 0.1 65 2.3 Focus group participants (primary shoppers in their household) were predominantly female, and most participants were Caucasian (only 5 out of 55 focus group participants were non white). The average number of people in each household across all focus group participants was 2.2. The largest percentage (30.7%) of focus group participants reported income in the range of $50,000 $100,000 (Table 2). The distribution of income is representative of the population in the Miami and Tampa areas for this age group. Table 2: Income by Area and Seafood Consumption Preferences In $1,000s 0 20 20 30 30 50 50 100 100 or more No Answer Total Miami Area Consumers 3.6% 10.8% 12.6% 10.9% 10 .8% 48.7% Miami Area Lite Consumers 1.9% 3.6% 7.2% 1.9% 14.6% Tampa Area Consumers 1.9% 1.9% 1.9% 9.0% 3.6% 18.3% Tampa Area Non Consumers 1.9% 5.5% 3.5% 5.5% 1.9% 100 % Total 1.9% 11.0% 18.2% 30.7% 23.6% 12.7% 100 %

PAGE 5

3 Word Association Findings Participants were asked to respond to a series of words related to the consumption of seafood (Table 3) to set the stage for the rest of the focus group. When asked to respond to the words such as crab, grouper, lobst er, salmon, shrimp, and snapper. Those who were lite or non consumers spoke of unpleasant experiences, smelly fish, and getting sick from consuming seafood. When asked about catfish, the participants were mixed in their views. Some grew up with catfish and something that was pond or farm raised, a negative for these participants. The term finfish confused participants. This is certainly not part of the typical parti do well to avoid using this term when dealing with the general public. The term seafood was usually understood by this time in the focus group to mean th e combination of finfish and shellfish. There was some sense (not overwhelming) that these particular focus group participants might associate seafood more with the ocean than with fresh water. This may be in part due to the fact that many of the participa nts were not from Florida originally, but from the upper Northeastern United States for the Miami area groups and from the upper Midwestern United States for the Tampa area groups. Wild caught meant better for you, fewer chemicals, and better tasting to so me of the participants. Other participants said wild caught brought up images of paying more, uncertainty regarding mercury levels, and a gamier taste. Alaskan salmon was the most commonly associated seafood species with the term wild caught. The term farm raised conjured up controlled environments, use of antibiotics, and recent bad press that pointed out problems with farm raised fish. Not all participants shared this viewpoint. For some participants, farm raised is a pure and clean product, one backed by considerable research, and a product that is good for you. Aquaculture is another term that does not easily communicate to consumers. Participants thought it had something to do with water, while other said it had to do with growing plants for aquariums. In general, there is a mixed reaction to farm raised or aquaculture practices. The term fresh brought out the greatest emotion in the participants. Fresh meant off the boat, to hen selecting seafood for purchase or consumption. If fresh is the holy grail of the seafood business, processed is the opposite in the minds of consumers. Most participants associated processed with altering a product for the worse, taking

PAGE 6

4 all the good st uff out, using additives, combining pieces of fish scraps to make a larger piece. While the majority of participants were turned off by the term processed, some knew that processing is an integral part of the seafood industry. There seems to be tolerance f or processes such as flash freezing and many participants indicated they purchased fresh shrimp, when in fact, it was processed, using flash freezing. Organic generally means healthy and more natural to the participants, the way things used to be grown and organic products, especially when discussing seafood. There was confusion as to what caught seafood Perhaps the most interesting finding from the word association exercise was the lack of knowledge regarding sustainability. When asked what sustainable means, the majority of participants said it had to with increasing shelf life or maintaining f lavor longer. The seafood industry would do well to educate consumers about the meaning of sustainability relative to seafood before using this wording on packaging. Table 3: Word Association Results by Focus Group Location Miami Area Consumers Miami Area Lite Consumers Tampa Area Consumers Tampa Area Non Consumers Fish Brim; Flounder; Grouper; King Fish; Lobster; Roughy; Salmon; Shrimp; Snapper; Squid; Tilapia; Tuna Fried; Healthy; FL Keys; Light food; Nutritious; Swim Cod; Crab cakes; Dolphin; Flounder; Raw fish; Salmon; Sea bass; Seafood; Scrod; Shrimp; Tilapia Broiled; Dinner; Farm raised; Fried; Grilled; Ocean; Sauted; Wild Catfish; Redfish; Salmon; Snook; Tilapia; Trout; Tuna Jaws; Mercury; Sickness; Smelly; Strong; Water; Yuk Shellfish Clams; Crab; Lobster; Maine Lobster; Oysters; Shrimp; Snails; Stone Crab Conch; Crab Legs; Crawfish; Lobster; Mussels; Oysters; Scallops; Shrimp; Stone Crab Clams; Lobster; Mussels; Oysters; Shrimp Bottom feeders; Crab; Lobst er; Oysters; Scallop; Shrimp Catfish Eat their young; Farm raised; Great; I like it; Pond raised; Same day; Thick & Oily;178 lbs All you can eat; Bottom creature; Delicacy; Good; Fabulous; Farm raised dirt; Never liked it; Nuggets; Toilet; Yuk Bottom feeder; Best fried; Catch out back yard; Cute; Difference b/t fresh & saltwater; Farm raised better than river caught; Hush puppies Bad memories; Bland; Bottom feeders mud fish; Gross; Ocean catfish

PAGE 7

5 Miami Area Consumers Miami Area Lite Consumers Tampa Area Consumers Tampa Area Non Consumers Fin Fish Confusion as to what this is (thought all fish had fins) Catfish; Dolphin; Finnan Haddie (Dish); Flounder; Marlin; Salmon; Shark fish have fins?) Dolphin; Flying Fish; Sail Fish; Salmon; Shark; Snapper; Trout; Tuna; Yellowtail Most fish have fins; Shark Blue gills sunfish; Koi; Dolphin; Perch; Swim in ponds; Tilapia Seafood Did not ask; but they understood both fin and shellfish by this time Cook anyway you like it; Fresh water; Ft. Lauderdale Seafood House; Healthy; Oceans; Pasta w/ seafood; Red Lobster Bouillabaisse; Chowder; Codfish; Fish; Mahi Mahi; Scallops; Shellfish from ocean Did not ask; but they understood both fin and shellfish by this time Bad smell; Caution; Restaurants; Salty; Unappetizing Wild Caught Original way to get seafood; Deep sea; Hard to get; Healthier to eat; worried about mercury; Once you eat wild salmon never go back; Wild has a better flavor Alaskan Salmon; Hogfish; Snapper; Trout Anything in the ocean; Better; Fresh not full of chemicals; Healthy; Lot of work; More expensive ; Not farm raised Anything not farm raised; Catch them in the wild; Mercury concerns; More expensive; Not all understood wild ask for wild caught Salmon Gamey; Healthier In general; this term did not resonate Salmon from Alaska best (newspaper story) Farm Raised Controlled; More mercury; More toxins; Smells up the house anything; Enhanced with antibiotics; More control; Not natural; Pure and clean; Recent bad press; Tanks in the ocean; Unnatural As good as wild caught; Catfish; Clean; Consistent; Research based; Used to be bland not any more Catfish; More healthy (recent bad press); Salmon; Tilapia Aquaculture Farming in the water; Mercury builds up over time; Something to do w/ H20; Studies Controlled environment cleaner; H20 connection; Raising & breeding Seemed to be more educated about this; Farm raised; Plants for aquariums; C ommercialized; Fish farming; New industry & technology; Many

PAGE 8

6 Miami Area Consumers Miami Area Lite Consumers Tampa Area Consumers Tampa Area Non Consumers on farm raised fish lower mercury; Would eat more fish if not for mercury fish; Way to save fish from extinction Shrimp never heard of this vs. agriculture Fresh Buy off the fishing boats; Same day caught; Eat quickly; From ocean to the pan; Looks & smells good; Nothing really fresh anymore; Shore lunch; Short ti me to market; Today not frozen; Unfrozen No odor; Not frozen; Not processed; Quicker; Short time from catch to customer Fresh caught; Get it cooked; Good; Now; Prefer over processed; Unfrozen; Unprocessed Processed Additives; Anything with chemicals; Avoid if possible; Bread; Canned tuna; Cheese; Chemicals added; Frozen keep nutritional value better; Grains; Imitation Crab meat; Flour; Little pieces combined; Not real fish; Pasta Additives; Altered in some way; Chemicals to make food last longer; Combi ned fish pieces; May or may not be bad may filter out bad stuff; Not as pure manipulated; Not healthy; Not interested; Prepared; Take fresh and do something to it; Word that makes you wonder All the good stuff taken out (disagree cereal good for you); Cl ean up get product ready for consumption; Should use another word besides processed; Want your fish to be fresh frozen (group not sure what this means) Additives; Chemicals; Guess what is inside; Removal of good stuff; Treated & altered; Unhealthy Organic Corn fed?; Costs more; Fresh; Healthier; Natural; Is it for real?; Skeptical way to charge more; What does natural really mean?; W/O pesticides Expensive; Fad; Health freaks eat it; Healthy; How it used to be before all these chemicals; Less additives; Mo re natural; More purely fed; No chemicals; Rip off; Skeptical person laughed Healthier; Marketing ploy; More expensive; Over used term; W/O fertilizer Controlled environment; Healthier; More expensive Sustainable Corn gas ethanol; Deadliest catch TV show; Get you through the day; Keep well; Keep you healthier; Taste & freshness is sustainable; Vacuum Longer shelf life; Reach a certain level of freshness; Save our food stocks; Smoked fish more sustaina ble lasts longer; Staying power; Stays fresh longer More educated group; All seafood may need to come from aquaculture some day; Blue pike from Lake Erie; More of a business & marketing term; Red flag are Longer shelf life; Preserve something; Will last; Will hold up

PAGE 9

7 Miami Area Consumers Miami Area Lite Consumers Tampa Area Consumers Tampa Area Non Consumers packed canned tuna; Will stay fresh longer long lasting their preservatives used?; Replenish what you take; Taking one claw from a stone crab; Wild caught not sustainable with current practices Discussion of Seafood Consumption Participants were asked to describe their seafood consumption attitudes and preferences (Tables 4 6) Participants from Miami were more likely to purchase seafood from specialty seafood houses than participants in the Tampa area. This may be due in part to the influence of the Northeastern United States, where many of the Miami participants were born and raised, compared to the upper Midwest roots for the participants from Tampa. Participants indicated that there were less specialty seafood houses in the Tampa area, compared to Miami. When it comes to purchasing salmon, Costco has a specific and excellent reputation for quality and value. Participants were split as to where they consume their seafood. Consuming seafood at restaurants has an edge over purch asing seafood to be prepared and consumed at home. There are a lot of factors that might explain this, including the avoidance of odor from cooking seafood, and the perceived time it takes to prepare and cook seafood. Participants indicated they would be m ore likely to purchase shellfish at a restaurant than they would be to purchase it to take home to prepare it themselves. The influence of others in a household on the purchasing or consumption habits of seafood was as expected. Most of the primary shopper s interviewed indicated they tried to accommodate the tastes and preferences of people in their household when purchasing seafood. In some cases this meant not purchasing seafood because the significant other did not like the smell or taste (Table 4). Seaf ood based traditions exist, but do not appear to be as universal as other food based traditions like turkey at Thanksgiving and ham at Easter. Seafood based traditions included bakala, gefilte fish, seven fishes, boiled crabs, and gumbo. When asked how seafood is best prepared, there were a range of answers. In general, the first suggestion tended to be broiled (filets), or baked. Seafood consumers shy away from consuming seafood with a lot of breading, while the lite users tended to prefer seafood in br eading. One might argue that the breading makes consuming the seafood more tolerable (Table 4).

PAGE 10

8 Many of the participants believed they could meet fishing boats returning to the docks and purchase fresh fish directly from these boats. This is contradictory to state law. In some cases, these fishing boats may be owned by friends and family that have caught seafood. Table 4 : Seafood Consumption Questions by Area and Seafood Consumption Preference Miami Area Consumers Miami Area Lite Consumers Tampa Area Consumers Tampa Area Non Consumers Where do you purchase seafood for consumption at home? Supermarkets; Fish markets (more prominent in this group) Costco Salmon; Less likely to use specialty fish houses More apt to purchase from grocery stores Where do you consume the majority of your seafood? Mostly Restaurant 40%; Mostly Home 30%; Both H and R 30% lot of seafood; More likely to eat seafood at a restaurant 50/50 balance If they consume seafood, more likely to be at a restaurant I nfluence of others on your seafood purchases Suggestion of selected species, Most accommodate household preferences; If I cook it, they eat it Focus on health & organics drives purchases; Most accommodate household preferences; Who is sho pping chooses Most accommodate household preferences; Who is shopping chooses More apt to have one family member dislike seafood, causing others to eat less seafood Seafood based traditions Bakala; Gefilte fish for Jewish Passover; Fish fries in lent; Mail order (Legal Seafood); Smelt at Christmas; Boiled crabs at reunions Bakala; Gefilte fish for Jewish Passover; Mail order (Legal Seafood); 7 fishes at Christmas; Gumbo, Creole Not as entrenched as other foods; Scallops w/ bacon; Summertime at bea ch; 7 fishes at Christmas; More likely to splurge if company over for a meal None mentioned; Seasonal impacts: when cold look for comfort food How best prepared? Poached; Baked; Broiled; Grilled; Deep fry (some resistance to this at home b/c of smell/mess ; Wine sauce Baked; Broiled; Fried Baked; Broiled; Coated (coconut); Deep fried; Fried; Grilled For some, nuggets okay, covered in batter; De veined shrimp okay; Still believe sting rays used for scallops; Broiled is tolerable Forms of seafood purchased/c onsumed? Filet most popular; Occasional whole fish (hard to know Little discussion on this More apt to try new types of seafood at a restaurant than at Very little seafood consumed or purchased by this group; Tend to

PAGE 11

9 Miami Area Consumers Miami Area Lite Consumers Tampa Area Consumers Tampa Area Non Consumers how to prepare); If you fish, your spouse wants it cleaned first; Crab cakes; Most believe they can purchase seafood directly from fishing boats; Canned tuna not generally regarded as seafo od; Shellfish more common at a restaurant (ease of cooking & dining experience) home; Canned tuna not seafood; Purchase seafood directly from fishing boats they know; Equally split b/t fin fish and shellfish consumption purchase more shellfish than finfish if they purchase at all; This group is unlikely to experiment with different species of seafood; Did not like the idea of Canned tuna is generally not lumped in with other types of seafood and the stated times per week the participants consume seafood is believed not to include any consumption of canned tuna. In general, participants were very familiar with the different seafood species that are available for pu rchase or consumption. Table 5 begins with the complete list of seafood the moderators had and the detail in the exhibit indicates which specific species of seafood the participants had not named and were not familiar with or had not named and were familiar with. The seafood industry would do well to educate consumers on the various seafood species and their best uses. The moderators attempted to see what role coun try of origin played in seafood purchase and consumption decisions (Table 6). Where seafood comes from does matter in some cases. For example, seafood from China was always given the thumbs down. Much of this may be due to recent news stories of recalls fr om China. Seafood from Latin and South America depended on past experiences of the participants. Generally, the participants were favorable, but cautious, favorable towa rds seafood from Norway, Maine, and Alaska. When participants were asked about purchasing seafood from Florida waters, the reaction was usually positive, but not as strong as from a state like Alaska.

PAGE 12

10 Table 5 : Famil iarity with Seafood Species by A rea and Seafood Consumption Preference Participants were asked to name all the kinds of seafood they could think of. This is a li st of potential seafood species: Alligator (while this is not seafood, it was included to see how it was viewed by the participants), Amberjacks, Blue Crab, Catfish, Clams, Flounder, Golden Tile, Grouper, Grunts, Jack Crevalle, King Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Mullet, Oysters, Pompano, Porgies, Shark, Shrimp Snapper, Spanish Mackerel, Spiny Lobster, Stone Crab, Swordfish, Tilapia, Tuna, Whiting Miami Area Consumers Miami Area Lite Consumers Tampa Area Consumers Tampa Area Non Consumers Seafood species not named and not familiar Grunts Golden Tile Jack Crevalle Porgies Spiny lobster (some knew this as FL lobster) Whiting Amberjack Grunts Golden Tile Jack Crevalle Porgies Whiting Whiting Amberjack Grunts Tile Spiny Lobster (most did not know this was from FL) Seafood species not named, but familiar Alligator Amberjack Blue Crab Catfish King/Spanish Mackerel Mullet (most think of this as bait) Pompano Stone Crab Alligator Blue Crab King/Spanish Mackerel Mullet (most think of this as bait) Pompano Shark Stone Crab Spiny lobster Alligator Spiny lobster (some knew this as FL lobster, some did not) The group has heard about most of the species Comments about specific species from non consumers Alligator: good if prepared properly Crab: expensive and good if you had enough to drink Clams/Oysters: Yuk associated with sickness Mackerel: too strong a taste and oily

PAGE 13

11 Table 6 : Attitudes toward Country of Origin and Seafood Consumption Preferences Miami Area Consumers Miami Area Lite Consumers Tampa Area Consumers Tampa Area Non Consumers Alaska Excellent Good Excellent Good for salmon Latin America (Chile, Caribbean, Ecuador) Very Good Depends on the country and the perception Overall, very positive Indifferent Canada Excellent Excellent Excellent Good China Risky recalls No way Very skeptical Very skeptical Florida Absolutely Could be, some safety questions Absolutely Mixed; Could be some safety concerns Japan Excellent Louisiana Good Okay, some reservation Mixed Known for crawfish & shrimp Norway Excellent Excellent Reminds them of fish Northeast U.S. Excellent Good Excellent Known for lobster Vietnam Acceptable Skeptical Skeptical Additional Comments Sometimes a matter of name recognition and flavor (Maine lobster); Problem of unknown regulations of other countries Commented more on species when asked about country, not surprising as they purchase/consume any seafood Factors that Affect Seafood Purchases and Consumption A primary objective of the focus group process was to identify those factors that drive purchase and consumption of seafood. Table 7 is a summary of these factors as described by focus group participants. The industry can take a proactive role in educati ng consumers about seafood, from differences between species to addressing health concerns. A common theme, especially among lite and non mercury or worries about the safety of the seafood caught in Florida waters strike doubt in the minds of these consumers.

PAGE 14

12 Participants indicated that familiarity or lack of familiarity with a given seafood species drives purchase and consumption decisions. If they are not familia matter what the price is, as they are unlikely to purchase or try it at a restaurant. Another important factor in the purchase and consumption decisions of these participants was appearance If the filet looks dried out or translucent, this signals lowered quality and therefore a no buy decision. The role of tradition, past experiences, and habit are almost hard wired into the purchase and consumption decisions of these participants. Stories of eating food that was const antly over cooked or the time when a participant got sick after consuming seafood were deep emotions and a definite barrier to future sales. Interestingly, some focus group participants indicated that they have increased their consumption of seafood since moving to Florida, while others indicated they have not significantly changed their seafood eating habits. Most of the focus group participants have lived in Florida for more than 15 years and consider themselves Floridians. For seafood consumers, the pr ice of seafood tends to cause them to switch from one species of seafood to another instead of away from seafood. For the non consumers, price is not an important factor, as they usually are not pre disposed to purchasing or consuming seafood. Seafood cons umers rely heavily on the reputation of specialty seafood houses, their regular grocery stores, and specialty seafood restaurants when deciding whether or not to purchase or consume seafood. Taste, texture, odor, or lack thereof, are important considerati ons for seafood consumers and seafood non consumers alike. For consumers, the right taste and odor signals the freshness and quality of a particular piece of seafood, a decision of what species to buy verses not buying any seafood. For the non consumer, ta consume more seafood, an obstacle that is hard for the industry to overcome at times, given the nature of seafood. Table 7 : Factors th at Affect Seafood Purchases and C onsumption Miami Area Consumers Miami Area Lite Consumers Tampa Area Consumers Tampa Area Non Consumers old the product is, Changes the taste, Used w/ shrimp Appearance of whole fish and fish heads in soup is a turn off; Must look good to purchase Bad press: very concerned about what they read about seafood Bad press: very concerned about what they read about seafood Budget constraints Price: needs to be Budget constraints

PAGE 15

13 Miami Area Consumers Miami Area Lite Consumers Tampa Area Consumers Tampa Area Non Consumers inexpensive Expiration dates important Important to product age Familiarity: how to prepare or get what you expect from restaurant If they are not familiar with a given species, properly= rubbery Some lack of knowledge for cooking in this group contributes to non consumption Food safety Some worried about grouper from FL waters A big concern; Seafood highly perishable requires a lot of planning to buy and cook right away Freshness or perceived freshness (flash frozen is still fresh); Buy in small quantities to keep fresh Nee ds to look fresh, not dried out, et Freshness or perceived freshness (flash frozen is still fresh) Very concerned about freshness of food in general Habit (seafood expensive, Habit and ethnic background; Grew up a meat eater Habits important, past experiences Habits important in non seafood purchase/consumption Hard to take seafood to work for lunch Prep time is perceived to be long Long prep time is a problem Living in FL increased consumption Life experiences have not led to a change in consumption of seafood after moving to FL Past experiences (positive & negative) Past experiences: mother that overcooked everything, tuna and boat motor effects Key factor for this group from sickness, to little exposure to seafood at home to seeing worms in filets; Lobster eating party was a turn off Price causes a switch from one species to another, not away from seafood Generally, are Lite Consumers b/c of things other than price Price causes a switch from one species to another, not away from seafood Look for sales on food Reputation: trust stores that specialize in seafood over grocery stores or a chef that knows seafood; From local fish captain only; Costco has great reputation for salmon: quality & price; Not a crazy about specialty fi sh houses Less likely to shop specialty seafood stores (less of them in Tampa) Sound of something called a catfish is disgusting Smell too strong Smell = old = bad Dislike smell of seafood; Too strong for them

PAGE 16

14 Miami Area Consumers Miami Area Lite Consumers Tampa Area Consumers Tampa Area Non Consumers Taste Flavor important taste Smelly fish departments Dislike smell, especially a deterrent to cooking at home Texture (some like firmer filet); Look for certain cuts of filet Squid and lobster are chewy Value added: some retailers will cook fish for you; De vein the shrimp Expect retailer to open a package if requested Tough sell as most in this group dislike seafood Advice to the Seafood Industry Focus group participants were asked to put themselves into the role of consultants to the seafood industry and to state what advice they would give to increase seafood purchase and consumption (Table 8). All four categories of focus group participants felt the industry needed to invest more in advertising the health benefits and the wide variety of seafood available. Participants noted the various ways they obtain information including newspapers, the food channel, magazines, in store demonstrations and programs such as the Aprons program at Publix, and internet based newslet ters delivered directly to individual email inboxes. The industry would do well to increase the consistency of product (e.g., same sized filets in a package) and knowledge of specific species for the parts of the industry that interact directly with consumers (e.g., people working for retailers and restauran ts). Freshness is king with seafood and successful companies will document their freshness and incorporate sources of inspections and certifications that consumers trust. The industry needs to work with retailers to improve the appearance and odor of fish counters. At the same time, retailers must not overpower seafood odor with a cleaner odor such as bleach, as this is a turnoff to consumers as well. The industry should continue to find ways to educate consumers on differences regarding preparation, cook ing and potential uses on a species by species basis. When focus group participants were shown the species specific information brochures created by FDACS, they loved them. They liked the fact the brochures had pictures (some debate as to the picture of th e whole fish or should it be a picture of what the consumer is likely to see in a retail setting such as a filet), safe handling instructions and recipes.

PAGE 17

15 Table 8 : Advice to the Seafood I ndustry Miami Area Consumers Miami Area Lite Consumers Tampa Area Consumers Tampa Area Non Consumers Advertise more; Leverage common brand names in seafood Advertise benefits of Florida seafood more, back up with proof of claims Internet could be used more Be honest about the processes used; Seafood festivals are a good idea Need more advertising about seafood and how to prepare; Sources of information: local papers, the food channel (seldom do chefs use seafood), email from companies magazines, internet, bookstores, flyers and recipes on products store programs such as Aprons, cookbooks Consistency of product and knowledge throughout food chain Make sure quality control is good Quality is a must; Coupons to encourage trial Freshness is key Freshness is a must Mercury concerns Packaging: need to see the product (counter to freshness?); Concerned about fish that is not packaged Needs to be neat and sanitary Attractive and informative makes a difference Find a way to reduce the blast of fish smell when opening a sealed package Pricing: stay competitive with other protein options Samples and recipe cards needed Cooking instructions would help Samples and recipe cards needed; Wanted species specific ideas Samples important in general, may be limited in seafood Smelly seafood areas are a turnoff as this signals cover up Trust: inspections, USDA, date product; Certification important Need to be able to trust the supplier to deliver what is stated Need assurances th at seafood is safe and fresh Warnings on packages reduce purchase (pregnant women should avoid)