Seafood retailers in the Pacific Northwest lack up-to-date research on salmon-buying trends. Existing studies generally are not specific to Washington and Oregon, and they typically do not differentiate among salmon species. In addition, information on consumer pricing perceptions is very limited. Better consumer data would assist local seafood retailers to make informed decisions about selling salmon products that are not well established in the marketplace.
A Washington Sea Grant-supported study focused on consumer perceptions of keta (chum) and pink salmon, as well as consumer attitudes toward local fishermen and sustainable fishing. Researchers developed a survey for seafood consumers that was pilot tested at an independent grocery store and a specialty seafood outlet in Washington. Consulting with WSG staff and the Puget Sound Salmon Commission, researchers evaluated the initial results and revised the survey to include price-point questions. The final survey instrument was administered electronically through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, an online service that provides access to a scalable, low-cost workforce. The survey was distributed in Washington and Oregon, with a national sample collected for comparison purposes.
Researchers currently are evaluating the 600 combined Washington and Oregon responses. Because the national sample was relatively small and geographically uneven, the team chose not to expand it. They concluded that Mechanical Turk was a useful tool for surveying consumers and learned that point-of-sales surveys were less efficient.