The rise of the conscious consumer

Shoppers “voting with their forks” for healthy oceans

Understanding consumers and their values lays an important foundation for the sustainable seafood movement.


Concerns for our ocean are driving a new wave of consumer activism, new research for 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.


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.

For more insight into North American’s perceptions of sustainability and ocean issues as well as seafood purchase motivators:

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The Rise of the Conscious Consumer Webinar 2020 - North America


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:



Head to the MSC blog for the latest news about the MSC, sustainable seafood, and general ocean health.

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Get inspired to eat more sustainable seafood with recipes and cooking tips, foodie guides, and more!

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Check out this guide on how to find sustainable seafood with the MSC blue fish label.

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