French Households and Fish Consumption: What Characterizes Households that Should be Targeted to Increase Fish Consumption: An Abstract
Fish has preventive effects against various chronic illnesses that have become a health threat in modern societies. Even though health authorities recommend consumption of fish at least twice a week, consumption in many countries is far lower, for example, in France, so finding ways to increase fish consumption is important. Social marketing is thought to be effective in encouraging healthy eating. In order to apply social marketing, the appropriate target groups need to be identified, but previous studies on the relationship between fish consumption and sociodemographics show conflicting results. Further investigation is therefore needed to produce reliable results for policy makers who prioritize scarce resources.
The purpose of the study was to identify sociodemographic characteristics of French households that should be targeted to increase fish consumption up to the recommended amount of two meals per week. Our main target group was households that eat fish, but less than two meals per week. Most likely, social marketing efforts need to vary, depending on how far from the recommended consumption households are. We therefore divided the target group into subsegments, based on consumption frequency. We used scanner data from Kantar Worldpanel of weekly purchases of fish from 20,000 French households during the years 2010–2013. We estimated a demand equation for each subgroup by applying a cluster robust random effect model. The method therefore accounts for the panel data structure of the data as well as provide unbiased standard errors.
The results show that households closest to the recommendation level have 2–3 household members, are living in the south or north of France and are quite unresponsive to price changes. Previous studies have shown that these households have similar motivational factors when it comes to fish consumption as those that consume the recommended amount, so inspiring them to increase their consumption by emphasizing their motivational factors, e.g. health benefits, taste and easy to prepare, is likely to be sensible and successful. The segments furthest away from the recommendation level have 3–4 household members, are mostly living in the south of France and are significantly more responsive to price changes than the aforementioned households. We would therefore recommend marginal price reduction in the form of lowering value added tax combined with promotion emphasizing the health benefits of fish consumption, which has previously shown to be important to these segments.
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