Fish consumption needs a new plaice to start

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Fish Jamie oliver Nutrition

Jamie Oliver: Don't mention the word bones
Jamie Oliver: Don't mention the word bones
British fish consumption has fallen victim to a lost generation of British mothers who don’t know how to choose fish, cook it or serve it, warns the industry authority Seafish.

Commenting on research from Young’s Seafood, Seafish's Karen Galloway told “Fish consumption has fallen because we now have a generation of mums who were never taught basic cooking skills. We need to start with the basics​.”

The research revealed that 12% of 18 to 34 year-olds shun fish because they don’t know how to cook it, or what to serve it with. 10% of those surveyed avoid fish because they fear they will choke on a fish bone.

Also, 11% of consumers barely manage to include fish in their diet once a month, despite government advice to eat fish at least twice a week.

Unfounded myths

Independent nutritionist, Dr Carrie Ruxton said: “Fish is an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet but certain unfounded myths continue to hamper our enjoyment of this nutritious food. Frozen fish, such as the range provided by Young’s, is a fantastic way to get ‘brain food’ into everyone’s diet.

“The UK lags behind the rest of Europe in this respect, as our French and German neighbours are much more likely to enjoy the benefits and convenience of frozen fish,” ​she said.

To help put more fish on the nation’s plates, Seafish plans to launch a campaign this autumn aimed at mothers. “We can’t talk to all 66M consumers in the UK so we have decided to focus on key groups – mothers and those with health-related issues such as heart problems,” ​said Galloway who is Seafish’s market planning and strategy manager.

“Our aim will be to persuade them that it is easy to select and cook fish and what to serve it with,”​ she said.

Don’t mention bones

Celebrity chef and sustainability campaigner Jamie Oliver is blunt about the b-word: “Fish is definitely an area where people are really nervous. They’re over cooking it; they’re under cooking it; and don’t even mention the word bones!”

Only 19% of the nation eats frozen fish even though fishcakes, fish pies and fish fingers are packed with nutrition. That’s because the freezing process seals in all the goodness like vitamins and Omega 3. Frozen fish is unbelievably tasty and great value for money, as it rarely gets wasted. And most importantly, it’s quick and easy to cook,”​ said Oliver.

More positively, the survey revealed that sustainable fishing campaigns have had an impact on the UK’s weekly food shop. 76% of shoppers now consider new varieties of fish for meal times with pollock, whiting and coley just as likely to feature in the weekly job as old favourites such as haddock or hake.

Last month, Young’s Seafood announced a new Jamie Oliver branded sustainable frozen fish range from the supplier.

The 12-strong Jamie Oliver​ range, due to launch this month, features Marine Stewardship Council-certified Pollock, Alaska salmon and Scottish-landed North Sea whiting.

The range will be stocked in Asda, Co-op, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.

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