Fish

This is the first of two posts on the topic of supply, demand and consumer behaviour (the next one on housing). Today, on Woman’s Hour, while driving through town, I heard a great article about fish.

The essence of it was the fact that cod and some other popular fish have massively increased in price (overfishing, more people wanting more fish). The question was asked why don’t people move to buying cheaper alternatives. ‘I only eat cod, Idon’t like anything else, I don’t like the look of it’ was one quote. Now the funny thing is that the reason why working class Brits ended up eating a lot of fish was because it was a cheap meal, compared to other sources of protein.

The best bit was when some old dear said, I don’t like pollock, I only eat cod, and an Oldham fishmonger presented a plate of pollock and a plate of cod and asked the lady to taste them. She liked one, said what a nice bit of cod it was, and then the fishmonger said it was pollock.

So although prices, supply, and demand are related, what makes up demand is complicated. In this case, some ‘tradition’ coming from post-war food policy makes people used to cod. What’s interesting is that it seems people are less price sensitive in this case than they used to be. We’ve got used to being able to buy what we want for food, due to our relative affluence. This, of course, isn’t the case for housing… my next topic.

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