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Are Italian consumers of canned tuna fish sensitive to environmentally sustainable product attributes?

Maria Bonaventura Forleo (Department of Economics, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy)
Luca Romagnoli (Department of Economics, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy)
Nadia Palmieri (Department of Economics, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy) (CREA-IT Research Centre for Engineering and Agro-Food Processing, Monterotondo, Italy)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 21 April 2022

Issue publication date: 16 January 2023




The study aims to provide important insights into environmental attributes that are relevant to consumer's choices in purchasing canned tuna fish, and how much these attributes and socio-demographic individual characteristics relate to the frequency of consumption.


An online survey of 251 Italians was carried out. Socio-demographic variables and environmental attributes of the product that consumers pay attention to were considered in a two-step analysis: a cluster analysis used to create a segmentation of people's profiles that are further characterised; a binary logistic regression to assess the significance of attributes in relation to the frequency of canned tuna consumption.


Among attributes that respondents pay attention to when purchasing canned tuna, the country of origin is the aspect most considered, while other characteristics with a higher content of environmental sustainability received minimal attention. Three clusters emerged: the smallest one, insensitive to sustainability issues; an intermediate group which is mindful of sustainability attributes; and the biggest cluster which is “sustainability inconsistent.” Moreover, respondents who reported concerns about the environmental impacts of tuna production are less likely to consume the product than other consumers; attention paid to the method of farming, the presence of children and a young age show willingness to consume tuna.


This study contributes to the literature on canned tuna consumption by focusing on the attention that consumers pay to environmental product attributes in their purchasing choices. The relevance of this topic might be envisaged in relation to several environmental issues associated with tuna production and consumption, and to the economics and strategies of the tuna industry, being canned tuna among the most internationally traded seafood products.



Forleo, M.B., Romagnoli, L. and Palmieri, N. (2023), "Are Italian consumers of canned tuna fish sensitive to environmentally sustainable product attributes?", British Food Journal, Vol. 125 No. 2, pp. 608-625.



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