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Opinions of U.S. consumers toward oysters : results of a 2000-2001 survey
  • Published Date:
Filetype[PDF-1.17 MB]

  • Corporate Authors:
    Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station ; National Sea Grant Program (U.S.) ; Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium
  • Description:
    Consumption of oysters in the U.S. declined during the 1990s. Understanding consumer attitudes and preferences toward oyster products can help the oyster industry turn this decline around. An understanding of why consumers increase or decrease their purchase and consumption of oysters is important. Although food safety is suspected of being a major factor in decisions to consume oysters, additional factors may be involved. Regional and national oyster consumption can be affected by many determinants that may vary across geographical region, ethnicity, income levels, and perceptions of nutrition. In 2000 and 2001, Mississippi State University, with support from the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant and the United States Department of Agriculture Higher Education Program, administered a survey to U.S. residents on the topic of seafood consumption. Information on consumer perceptions of oysters obtained from this survey is summarized in this bulletin. This bulletin presents results from a 2000-2001 fish and seafood survey and should be of interest to the oyster industry, government agencies, and seafood retailers/marketers. Results from this study could be used by marketers as to guide to target consumers who are most likely to increase their oyster consumption. Another use of these results by processors would be the oyster purification methods preferred by consumers and the amount they would be willing to pay for purified oysters. Information gained about consumer awareness of food safety and inspection programs and the ones they feel are safest and most likely to trust are explored. Survey results identify characteristics and opinions of oyster consumers and nonconsumers. Of a sample of 1,376 respondents to a nationwide survey on seafood consumption, 43% consumed oysters at least occasionally, with an average oyster consumer eating oysters 2.6 times per month. Consumers indicated enjoyment of flavor and addition of variety to their diet as the main reasons for consumption. Main reasons for not consuming oysters more often were price, product safety, and lack of availability of fresh product. The main reasons for not consuming oysters were taste, texture, smell, and product safety concerns. Changing nonconsumer perceptions of taste, smell, and texture is likely more difficult to achieve than perceptions of safety or price, suggesting that the industry should focus expansion activities on those who currently eat oysters.

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  • Funding:
    Funding: Sponsored by NOAA; grant number: GMO-99-24;
    Funding: Sponsored by Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium;
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