Researchers at Athlone Institute of Technology and NUI Galway have launched a national survey to better understand Irish consumers’ knowledge of seafood packaging and its waste management.
The survey, led by the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere, is being carried out concurrently in Spain and Portugal.
Ireland has one of the lowest levels of consumption of seafood in Western Europe, with very different consumption patterns than other countries.
For example, Ireland tends to consume, on average, higher portions of packaged or frozen seafood, whereas in other European countries, fresh seafood is consumed.
In 2017, it was estimated that seafood consumption in Ireland was 23 kg/capita; Portugal has the highest consumption rate for seafood in Europe at 57 kg/capita.
The survey forms part of NEPTUNUS, an Interreg Atlantic Area funded project which aims to support the sustainable development of the seafood sector in the Atlantic area by developing tools for eco-labelling and low impact strategies for production and consumption.
According to Dr Sinead Mellett, a scientific researcher in the Bioscience Research Institute at AIT and NEPTUNUS, the results of the survey will be used to aid in a better understanding of the differences in seafood consumption and waste management in Ireland, Spain and Portugal.
“Given these large differences in consumption and the type of seafood products purchased the results of this survey can help to close a knowledge gap in Irish seafood consumption trends, behaviours, and knowledge of seafood packaging,” she explained.
“These results will be useful for policy makers and for future research into how Irish consumers can increase their intake of this nutritious food and add to their understanding of seafood packaging. Ultimately, the results will support the development of public policies that will promote efficient use of seafood packaging.”
Athlone Institute of Technology is a research-led third-level institute with an applied, industry-focused offering, world-class research and development capabilities, and state-of-the-art facilities. Winner of The Sunday Times Institute of the Year 2020 and 2018, AIT is Ireland’s top-ranked institute of technology and is on track to open its doors as the country’s third technological university on October 1, 2021. AIT tops Ireland’s official league table for research and was listed in U-Multirank’s Top 25 Performing Universities in the World for Interdisciplinary Research in 2018 and 2019. Visit www.ait.ie to learn more.