The rise of the conscious consumer

Shoppers “voting with their forks” for healthy oceans

Concerns for our ocean are driving a new wave of consumer activism, new research from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) reveals. American shoppers are increasingly ‘voting with their forks’ for sustainable seafood.

The study was conducted in early 2020 by GlobeScan, an independent research and strategy consultancy. It is one of the largest global surveys of seafood consumers, involving more than 20,000 people across 23 countries. In the US and Canada, more than 5,700 people were surveyed.

Understanding consumers and their values lays an important foundation for the sustainable seafood movement. Reach out to your local MSC representative to find out how your company can join the movement.  


of North American seafood consumers agreed that in order to protect the ocean, we have to consume fish and shellfish only from sustainable sources.


of U.S. and Canadian shoppers believe retailers’ and brands’ claims about sustainability and the environment need to be clearly labeled by an independent organization.


of North American shoppers are willing to pay more for seafood from a certified sustainable fishery.

Webinars and Presentations

The videos below include additional insight into North American’s perceptions of sustainability, ocean issues, and seafood purchase motivators.


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SENAR 2021


At Seafood Expo North America Reconnect in March 2021, the MSC and GlobeScan co-hosted a digital conference session on the latest trends in healthy and sustainable living and environmentally conscious consumption.

The session included a panel discussion with leading retailers and seafood industry representatives sharing their insights into the values-driven consumption trends pre and mid pandemic, how they're motivating purchases of sustainable seafood, and what their expectations are long-term.

Moderator & Presenter: Chris Coulter, GlobeScan, CEO


  • Logan Soraci, Brand Manager, Conagra
  • Kristen Stevens, Senior Marketing Manager, MSC USA
  • Marife Casem, Sustainability Senior Manager, Walmart
The Rise of the Conscious Consumer (60 min webinar)

The Rise of the Conscious Consumer (60 min webinar)

The MSC's 2020 seafood consumer survey shows that high levels of concern for our oceans are driving a new wave of consumer activism, as conscious food consumers increasingly ‘vote with their forks’ to safeguard our oceans. The panelists explore consumer trends in sustainable diets and seafood consumption, and how consumers may act in a post-COVID world. | Host: Eric Wan, Director at Globe Scan | Panelists: Kristen Stevens, MSC + Wesley Rose, Whole Foods Market + Tonette Lim, Costco Wholesale

Insights Overview: The Rise of the Conscious Consumer (10 min teaser)

Insights Overview: The Rise of the Conscious Consumer (10 min teaser)

This ten-minute video provides a brief overview of the rise of the 'conscious consumer' in the US market and the increasing demand for healthy and sustainable food. Highlights include insights from the MSC and GlobeScan's 2020 research into seafood consumer perceptions as well as GlobeScan's 'Healthy and Sustainable Living' study run in June of the same year. | Presenter: Kristen Stevens, Senior Marketing Manager, MSC US

Consumers Perceptions on Sustainability in Omega-3 Supplements (60 min webinar)

Consumers Perceptions on Sustainability in Omega-3 Supplements (60 min webinar)

In this webinar, GOED (a member-driven organization representing the global EPA and DHA omega-3 industry) shares market and sustainability trends in omega-3 supplements, and the MSC shares consumer insights on what shoppers think about when purchasing sustainable supplements. Then, our panelists discuss sustainability and supplement trends. | Host: Laura Johnson, MSC | Presenters: Chris Gearheart, GOED + Emily Wyatt, MSC | Panelists: Esmeralda Garcia-Smith, Sam's Club + Sam Wiley, Wiley's Finest


Downloadable Consumer Insights

Quick facts

  • North Americans are increasingly concerned about our ocean and the impact of pollution, overfishing, and climate change.
  • Ocean health and the decline of fish populations is ranked as North American consumers' third-highest environmental concern.
  • The top action seafood consumers are willing to take to help the ocean is switching to a different brand or product.
  • Choosing sustainably sourced seafood has risen in importance as a purchase motivator to seafood shoppers since 2018.
  • MSC awareness continues to grow among North American seafood consumers. Recognition is particularly high among the conscious consumer (46%) and younger consumers aged 18-34 (49%).
  • The survey revealed that younger generations and parents are most likely to have taken action in the past year to protect seafood for the future.
  • Nearly half of MSC-aware consumers would recommend MCS certified products to people they know.

For more resources to promote your commitment to sustainable seafood, you can:

Looking to get your business certified? Connect with our team:

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