College Students' Opinions of U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish
A survey focusing on factors related to consumption of fish and seafood, including catfish, and targeted at college-aged students was developed and administered in conjunction with Auburn University's Earth Day dining promotion. Six hundred forty completed surveys were obtained over two days in April, 2012. Findings suggest that students had an overall positive opinion toward catfish, citing enjoyment of flavor (44 percent), better texture (38 percent), less expensive (43 percent), and greater availability in the area (52 percent) than other seafood choices as reasons to consume catfish. Twenty-seven percent of respondents consumed catfish at least once a month. Student non-consumers indicated a dislike of taste, texture, and/or smell (54 percent) as their reason for non-consumption. Factors that would increase catfish consumption included having local Alabama farm-raised catfish products available (48 percent), lower price (56 percent), and if they thought catfish had greater nutritional value compared to other fish products (40 percent. Students also believe that they would be more likely to consume catfish products that are locally grown (34 percent) and farm-raised (28 percent). When students eat catfish, 23 percent "always" or "frequently" cook it at home or enjoy it at a sit-down restaurant (23 percent). Sixty-nine percent of students preferred carfish fried, 46 percent preferred it grilled, and 18 percent preferred it baked. Environmental and sustainability concerns were important to 21 percent, who would increase consumption because catfish are grown in ecofriendly ways. Overall results suggest development of consumer -oriented products that address young adults' preferences for locally grown, environmentally friendly, easy-to-access, and easy to prepare catfish dishes.
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