Consumer Reaction to Health Messages Abouth Fish Consumption

Grants and Contracts Details


The purpose of the project is to evaluate how Canadian consumers reacted to conflicting health messages about fish consumption. Consumers hear that fish is a low-fat protein source high in omega- 3 fatty acids, but in 2002 Health Canada advised against frequent consumption of species high in mercury, and in 2004 scientists reported that farmed salmon was high in PCB's. Medical experts expressed concern that people will over-react to the negative health messages, thus depriving themselves of dietary benefits in the midst of an obesity epidemic. Prospect theory suggests that consumers might weight negative health messages more heavily than positive messages. If consumers remember only part of the message (e.g., fish linked with mercury, but no distinction among species), health benefits might decline with no appreciable risk reduction. The results of the project will help in designing future public health advisories in similarly complex settings. Consumer reaction to the mercury and PCBmessages is not obvious from casual observation of the scanner data to be used in the study. For example, salmon quantities grew during the 2001-2006 study period, even after the 2004 PCBscare, but salmon prices dropped, and "wild salmon" products were introduced at low relative prices during 2004.
Effective start/end date5/1/074/30/08


  • University of Alberta: $6,332.00


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