Do you like tuna? graph of japanese opinionDIMSDRIVE Research recently looked at a hot topic in Japan, the recent drastic reduction in tuna quotas. Between the 13th and 18th of December they interviewed 7,149 people from their monitor group by means of an internet-based private survey. 43.5% of the sample was male, 1.0% in their teens, 15.8% in their twenties, 35.3% in their thirties, 27.9% in their forties, 14.4% in their fifties, and 5.6% aged sixty or older.

When I translated an earlier opinion poll by DIMSDRIVE Research on tofu, I postulated that that was the nation’s favourite food, and this survey doesn’t disprove my guess.

Perhaps connected with this survey is my recent examination of a press release by the Institute Of Cetacean Research on whaling. It might be interesting to perform a survey see if people would switch from tuna to whale if the quotas for the former were cut and the latter increased.

Q1: About how often do you eat tuna (sashimi, sushi, steaks, etc)? (Sample size=7,149)

Three or more times a week 1.4%
Once or twice a week 14.9%
Twice or thrice a month 37.0%
Once a month 21.9%
Less than once a month 16.8%
Don’t know 5.6%
Don’t eat tuna 1.4%

Male and female frequency of eating were very similar, but older people ate tuna significantly more frequently than young people. Nearly two and a half as many over-sixties ate it one or more times a week when compared to those in their twenties, and over twice as many twentysomethings ate it less than once a month when compared to the over-sixties group.

Q2: Do you like tuna? (Sample size=7,149)

Love it 33.6%
Quite like it 49.3%
It’s OK 13.8%
Don’t really like it 2.6%
Hate it 0.7%

Not surprisingly, those who loved it ate it far more frequently than those who hated it.

Q3: In what forms do you usually buy tuna for home consumption? (Sample size=6,974, tuna eaters, multiple answer)

Raw cuts (sashimi, steaks, etc) 85.0%
Sushi, sushi rolls 55.9%
Processed (canned, ham, etc) 19.5%
Side dishes, lunch boxes 7.1%
None of them or don’t know 0.7%
Other 4.8%

Q4: When buying raw cuts of tuna, what points are important? (Sample size=5,931, raw cut buyers, multiple answer)

Price 77.8%
Freshness, best-before date 71.5%
Quality 37.9%
Quantity 37.3%
Body part 32.5%
Type of tuna 29.5%
Style of cut, type of use 24.5%
Where caught 11.1%
Selling shop 7.3%
Not frozen 4.9%
Other 0.8%
Don’t know 1.3%
Nothing in particular is important 2.3%

In the “other” category, the answers included few bones or boneless and not being farmed tuna. Dolphin-friendly catching methods, which might be one of the top qualifiers for western shoppers, is not mentioned at all.

Q5: Do you know about the decision to reduce tuna quotas? (Sample size=7,149)

Know a lot about it 43.4%
Just heard about it 48.2%
Didn’t know at all 8.4%

Although the rate of just having heard about the cuts was almost constant across both sexes and all age groups, as age increased high awareness of the issue also increased significantly. When looked at by frequency of eating, a similar trend could be observed with the more frequent eaters being more aware of the issues.

Q6: Do you have any concerns about tuna quotas being cut? (Sample size=7,149, multiple answer)

Price will increase 84.8%
Japan’s quota will be heavily slashed or insufficent 50.7%
Will have an effect on restaurants 29.0%
Illegal fishing will increase 28.4%
Quality of tuna will decrease 24.2%
Will have an effect on fishermen and businesses 23.6%
Have an ill effect on other fish stocks 18.2%
Japanese fish-eating will more rapidly decline 5.0%
Other 0.6%
No particular worries 8.6%

Other worries included the effect on cat food supplies, effect on future tuna stocks (don’t understand that one!), and price rises in other fish or meats.

Q7: If tuna quotas were cut, what effect would you think it would have on your eating habits? (Sample size=7,149)

Have a great effect 9.8%
Have some effect 41.0%
Can’t say either way 21.3%
Not really much effect 19.9%
No effect whatsoever 8.0%

Not surprisingly, the more often people ate tuna, the more they thought there would be a great effect on their eating habits.

Q8: If the price of tuna increased, how do you think your purchasing of raw cuts for home consumption would change? (Sample size=5,931, raw cut buyers)

Won’t change 13.1%
Decrease a little 45.3%
Decrease greatly 29.9%
Will stop buying it 5.7%
Don’t know 6.0%


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