• Sharon Ann Carstairs (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesPresentation



Seafood has long been advocated as part of a healthy balanced diet. Infancy is the key stage for the development of taste and future eating habits thus the under-exposure to seafood during an infant’s early years may impact on their acceptance of this healthful food. A survey was conducted to investigate the inclusion of seafood compared to other food types; - meat, poultry and vegetables, in infant-targeted commercial main meal products and home-cooking recipes, and on the messages portrayed in these cookbooks and in infant feeding leaflets.

Results and Discussion
The number of seafood-based commercial infant meal products and recipes was lower (3.8% and 19% respectively) than meat (35.5% and 20.8%) and vegetables (30.5% and 43.9%). Seafood inclusion was also lower than poultry in commercial meals (30.2%) but not poultry recipes (16.3%). This under-representation of seafood in commercial infant-targeted meals and home-cooked recipes may lead to fewer opportunities for young children to experience fish-based meals.

In infant cookbooks poultry-based beneficiary messages were significantly lower (median = 4) than other food types whilst vegetable beneficiary messages were significantly higher in infant feeding information leaflets (median = 3). Seafood received a significantly more cautionary messages in infant cookbooks (median = 10) and information leaflets (median = 6) compared to other food types. Despite a strong presence of beneficiary messages being made on seafood there is overwhelming evidence of negative, cautionary messages. Combined with the limited availability of seafood products and recipes the presence of negative messages may dissuade parents to provide this food to their infant, lowering the chance of future acceptance and inclusion of seafood in the diet.

Evidence from focus group discussions identified that there are many factors that influence mothers’ decision to give their infant seafood; - the child’s food preferences; mothers’ and family’s food preferences; fulfilment in a meal; cost; availability; local environment; time and effort; convenience; sensory properties; confidence in preparation and cooking; safety; mixed messages from media and health professionals; social norms; and the mothers’ own beliefs on whether seafood is suitable for their child. This research is still in its early stages however the robust findings suggest that there is lot of work to be done to increase the acceptability of seafood in young children’s diets. If we do not pay attention to the newest consumers we will be likely to see an ever decreasing market for fish consumption in the UK.
Period7 Sept 2015
Event typeConference
LocationGRIMSBY, United KingdomShow on map