The news in October that there have been no more positive white spot results in SE Qld is not only a ray of hope for affected fisherman but should also make its way through to consumers and restore confidence.
Of the 1000 Australians surveyed in June for FRDC consumer research, around 5% of Australians reported that they were aware of, extremely concerned and likely to ‘wait and see’ before buying prawns again*. Despite white spot posing no food safety problem, the most common reason for the concern was public health impact.
The market suffered most in Queensland. On average, Australian prawn marketers reported concern in the market leading up to winter but, to date, demand for Australian prawns lifted by up to 10% as the food service sector felt the effect of the green prawn import ban.
The green prawn ban was lifted in July with imports slowing returning. The market place is still rationalising and it is still too soon to see the effect of the removal of the ban.
Of the Australians who made comments about Australian prawns in the FRDC survey almost 60% were positive about the product. The Love Australian Prawns 2017-18 campaign plans to further reinforce that Australian prawns are special and restore confidence to concerned Australians.
* The survey found 30% of Australians were aware of and concerned about white spot in prawns and, of those, 16% were extremely concerned about the problem ie 5% of all surveyed being extremely concerned. At a point that a consumer became extremely concerned they opted to ‘wait and see’ before buying prawns again because they were worried about public health impacts.