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Diet hack: Why you should eat more Irish whitefish

Bord Bia is calling on consumers to try something different with Irish whitefish, with a new campaign brimming with mouth-watering recipes and virtual Cook-Alongs. With 48% of us claiming to regularly purchase whitefish, the campaign is encouraging the public to support local fishermen by embracing Irish whitefish for its local provenance, versatility and health benefits.

Recent market insights show that while the Irish seafood sector has grown by 4% to €85m in the four months to June 2020*, driven by sales of frozen fish, fresh Irish whitefish came under pressure as consumers changed their frequency of shopping as a result of Covid-19, instead opting for foods with a longer shelf life.

To support the campaign, Bord Bia has released the findings of two research studies on consumer attitudes towards whitefish carried out prior to and after Covid-19. The key findings of this research include:

  • Of those who eat whitefish, 1 in 4 people (26%) say they eat whitefish once per week. This increases significantly to 2 in 3 in the 65+ age group, while those aged between 25-34 are the least likely to eat white fish once per week (15%).
  • In terms of buying behaviour, those aged 25-34 (25%) are the most likely to have started buying whitefish for its health benefits during Covid-19.
  • Almost a quarter (24%) say that they are eating more whitefish at home since Covid-19, with 16% saying it’s because of the health benefits of whitefish and 12% doing so to support the Irish seafood sector.
  • 36% of those aged 18-24 said the pandemic prompted them to experiment with buying a new species of whitefish. When asked if they would experiment beyond the usual whitefish species, 40% of all respondents said they would like to get hooked on Hake and another 40% said Haddock would be their catch of the day. 1 in 2 (51%) of the younger cohort said that they would love to try Whiting for the first time.
  • More than two thirds of those surveyed (68%) admitted that they would like their household to eat more whitefish than they currently do, with over half recognising its health benefits (57%).

Elsewhere in the research, while fish and chips has long been a popular choice for many, fish is generally considered to be less versatile than beef or chicken and 73% said they would love new recipes to ‘skool’ them on cooking with whitefish.

Commenting on the campaign, TV chef and food writer Catherine Fulvio, who is a keen supporter of using fresh, local produce in her cooking, said “I’m delighted to work with Bord Bia and our Irish fishing industry to highlight just how tasty, versatile and nutritious Irish whitefish really is. Whitefish like hake, haddock and whiting is naturally high in protein and low in fat making it good for your heart health. Our coastline is an incredible source of quality Irish whitefish caught locally by generations of dedicated fishermen. By now, we’re all more confident cooks due to time spent enjoying home cooking during lockdown so why not try something different while supporting and buying local produce. From Cajun seasoned haddock to grilled whiting, Bord Bia have crafted recipes to help you plate up a delicious fish dish in just 20 minutes.”

Bord Bia Brand Marketing Manager Teresa Brophy explains the backdrop to the campaign: “This campaign highlights the versatility and quality of beautiful Irish whitefish that is caught locally along our coastline. With shopper behaviour showing an appetite for trying new types of fish, this presents a real opportunity for us to support the seafood sector, our fishermen and our fish mongers, and encourage people to cook new dishes with hake, haddock and whiting.”

Bord Bia has developed a suite of easy-to-prepare recipes; perfect for those who want to cook simple yet nutritious meals or a showstopping main when entertaining family and friends. From fresh grilled whiting, to Cajun seasoned haddock, Irish whitefish can feature in a range of delicious dishes. Log onto the Bord Bia website for recipe inspiration.

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