The purpose of this paper is threefold: first, to assess how concerned Norwegians are about fish welfare; second, to investigate Norwegians’ willingness to pay for salmon filet made from welfare-assured farmed fish with high levels of welfare; and third, to examine Norwegian opinions about the appropriate way to pay for better welfare standards in fish production.
On the basis of two focus group sessions, a survey questionnaire was developed and distributed to a representative sample of 2,147 Norwegian households via e-mail.
Results showed that the Norwegian public is concerned about fish welfare and is willing to pay a price premium for products made from welfare-assured fish. Norwegian consumers do not, however, want to be the only ones paying for fish welfare, as the main responsibility for fish welfare lies with producers and the Government.
In this study willingness to pay is measured using a hypothetical choice experiment. Values people express as citizens, however, may not accurately predict true consumer behaviour. This is generally referred to as “citizen-consumer duality” and may have affected the results.
The study shows that there is a national market for welfare-assured fish products, but education initiatives focusing on fish farming and fish welfare issues would further influence the attitudes and purchasing habits of Norwegian consumers.
Although concern about animal welfare is growing in the western world, very little attention has been given to the welfare of fish. This paper aims to make up for this by presenting a study of how Norwegians view the welfare of farmed salmon.
The authors thank Ann-Charlotte Karlsson for help with conducting the focus group studies, Morten Raun Mørkbak for useful advice concerning the discussion of hypothetical bias when interpreting WTP and an anonymous referee for useful comments. This research has been financed by the Research Council of Norway through the project “Breeding for improved fish welfare in aquaculture”, project no. 190457/S40.
Ellingsen, K., Grimsrud, K., Nielsen, H.M., Mejdell, C., Olesen, I., Honkanen, P., Navrud, S., Gamborg, C. and Sandøe, P. (2015), "Who cares about fish welfare? A Norwegian study", British Food Journal, Vol. 117 No. 1, pp. 257-273. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-08-2013-0223
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