The influence of labelling on consumers' evaluations of fresh and thawed cod fillets in England

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of information on English consumers' evaluation of fresh and thawed cod fillets which in English retail stores is referred to as "chilled" seafood. Design/methodology/approach ‐ After the exploration of consumers' impressions of thawed fish, this study followed a pair-wise comparison approach in a central location consumer test. Fish fillets were evaluated on liking, smell and texture by means of a questionnaire with additional behavioural and attitudinal questions. Findings ‐ This study showed that consumers in England may prefer thawed over fresh cod fillets without information. However, consumers' evaluations increased for labelled fresh cod fillets and decreased for thawed. Finally, consumers reported positive expectations about fillets labelled "fresh" or "frozen at sea". Research limitation/implications ‐ This study involved testing cod fillets in a central location test. Consumers do not usually evaluate cod fillets in this way in their daily life. The quality of the two types of fillets made especially for this test may vary compared to the ones usually sold and consumed. Practical implications ‐ This study can inform producers and retailers about what to expect by means of sales of fresh and thawed cod products with or without information. Social implications ‐ It was shown that consumers are positively influenced by information and are willing to consume more fish if they know that the fish is fresh or thawed properly. Originality/value ‐ This is the first paper to present English consumers' evaluations of thawed cod.

Keywords: Cod; Consumer behaviour; Consumers; Fish (food); Food products; Fresh foods; Frozen foods; Perception

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 19, 2012

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