The Positive Impact of a Portuguese State-Owned Company that Invested on Consumers Nutritional Education – The Case of Fish and Docapesca
Keywords:Consumers education, Fish product preferences, Fish benefits, Children’s food habits, Nutritional Education
A human common need is the security of an adequate diet, which will provide energy and the various nutrients necessary for metabolic functioning. This paper presents the case of a company that considers food quality, safety, health and nutrition as a priority: Docapesca – Portos e Lotas, SA. This state-owned company (operating in the Portuguese fish sector) has taken under its wing the task – and also the responsibility – of educating consumers’ preferences regarding fish. Portugal ranks number 3 in the world consuming fish which is fantastic since fish is a fabulous source of easily digested, high quality animal protein. Fish is high in lysine and sulphur amino acids, provides vitamin A and vitamin D, and (above all) contains a very powerful, almost panacea-like nutrient-called “Omega-3 fat”. According to Sørensen (1996), fish provides security and it is considered a very healthy product. The company analysed in this paper, Docapesca – Portos e Lotas SA, provides the public service of organizing the first sale of fish (on mainland Portugal), and also supports the fishing harbour sector. But besides that, one of the company’s main objectives include consumers’ education, nutritional education and knowledge transfer on healthy food and diet. Social responsibility, quality guarantee, cooperation with society and environmental and civic responsibility are also part of its mission. To write this paper we have had access to privilege State information and we have made an exhaustive detailed analysis of the different strategies implemented by Docapesca – Portos e Lotas, SA (in-depth interviews to key decision makers in the company were the way to reach all this exclusive data). This study gathered information from entire Portuguese population but gave special attention to the young generation (16 to 34 years old). Findings showed that, as a result of all the work that has been made towards educating consumers on fish, Portuguese consumers perceive fish as more than just fish.