Wholesale fish market, Source: Generalitat de Catalunya

Pandemic lockdown resulted in higher fish consumption in Catalonia

Pandemic lockdown resulted in higher fish consumption in Catalonia

The link might not necessarily be clear, but it is an interesting one to explore

Today, 18 February, the Catalonian Department of Agriculture released a slew of statistics from recent surveys conducted on the seafood habits of the inhabitants of the autonomous region and the verdict is that fish and seafood remain indispensable items for the tables at home. What the exact reasons for this increase in fish consumption are remains something that is still open to debate and interpretations but one thing is clear – it spells good days ahead for the regional fisheries and aquaculture industry but also a lot of responsibility on how to sustainably manage it.

Fish is central to the Mediterranean diet

It could be the people of Catalonia have grown more health-conscious during the periods of reduced mobility and prefer to eat food that is not too heavy on calories. It is quite staggering that 97.5 % of Catalans consume seafood, and 58% of the population reported to have fish two or more times a week.

Now, as for the reason why in times of pandemic seafood has grown even more popular, there could be different explanations. 44% of respondents said that this is due to the closure of bars and restaurants.

Perhaps, that means that cooking fish is considered something simple and quick to do at home, while more complicated dishes are left as a treat to enjoy out of the home. Or it could mean that Catalans enjoy ordering fish and seafood even when dining out and now they miss that option.

It could also be an economic and purchasing capacity consideration. After all, 52% of respondents stated that price is the most important aspect when going shopping for seafood.

However, what is also important for the people is that the product is locally sourced and fresh, which is why a third of shoppers opt for the neighbourhood food markets. 40% of consumers were clear that they perceive fish bought there to be fresher plus it makes them proud to support regional fishermen.

Interestingly enough, even online purchasing of fish has seen a small surge although it overall remains the least likely way to buy that kind of food. 14% of respondents said they had bought more fish through purchase apps than they had done before but 31% would consider it as a viable option if they could place orders directly from the wholesale fish market.

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