Nearly Half of Shoppers Are Changing Diets Due to Ocean Health Concerns

Consumers are more conscious than ever about how their food choices impact the planet

Nearly half of shoppers who are changing what they eat are doing so because of concerns about the environment, according to a new global survey by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), released ahead of the UN’s World Oceans Day 2024.

The biggest change is in red meat, like beef and lamb, with 39% of all shoppers surveyed cutting their consumption over the past two years and 37% saying they are eating more vegetables. One in ten of those surveyed said they are eating more seafood, but three in ten said they are eating less. Looking forward, 27% of shoppers said they would eat more seafood in the future if they knew it wasn’t causing harm to the ocean.

The survey of 20,000 seafood consumers across 23 countries also showed that anxiety about the state of the world’s oceans among seafood consumers is on the rise, with almost half (48%) saying they are concerned about overfishing and just over a third concerned about the impact of climate change (35%).

Despite their gloomy outlook, greater awareness of conservation and recent extreme weather events, including record-breaking temperatures, can also be motivating, with 64% saying they feel an increased desire to protect the marine environment.

This is the fifth wave of our biennial global research study with the Marine Stewardship Council into consumer perceptions around seafood and sustainability issues – the first survey was in 2016.