Blog: Frozen fish hype

Catherine Sleep | 14 February 2006

Another day, another survey telling us how packaged foods aren’t as good for us as their manufacturers make out. The survey from the Australian Consumers Association focuses on frozen fish meals, and specifically on their omega-3 claims. The gist of the survey appears to be that consumers buying frozen fish ready meals might believe they are buying a product rich in omega-3 fish oils, yet in fact most frozen fish products are made using hake or hoki, white fish varieties low in essential oils.

Frankly, I would have thought most consumers, or most of those who are interested in such matters, would know by now that it’s oily fish you’ve got to look for if you’re after omega-3s, for example herring, sardine, salmon or mackerel. You read the packaging, you make your choice.

On the other hand, the survey points to packaging claims that can only be called misleading. Is it dishonest to big up the benefits of omega-3s if the product in question only contains a very small amount of it? It’s a grey area, and it points up yet again the fact, distasteful to consumer associations, that packaging is there not only to inform the consumer about a product, but also to persuade them to buy it. Putting the most positive spin possible on a product goes with the territory.

Caveat emptor

Frozen fish fail to live up to hype


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