At Efamol we know how important it is to ensure you are getting enough Omega 3 in your diet, but we were not sure if this message was getting out to the general public. So, we conducted a survey1 into the eating habits of the British public to try to better understand their attitudes to eating oily fish.

The results of the survey of 1000 households reveal that the UK population is under consuming oily fish with 60% saying they haven’t eaten it in the last week and a quarter (25%) saying they haven’t eaten it in the last six months. A fifth of those surveyed (19%) never eat it.

There appears to be a disconnect as 70% recognise that oily fish is good for brain health2 and 65% understanding it is good for heart health3. There is also a reluctance to stray away from popular choices such as salmon and mackerel to experiment with other varieties such as anchovies and pilchards.



The top reasons we're not eating oily fish and suggestions to overcome them!

Reason people don't eat oily fish regularly (according to Efamol survey)

I don’t like the taste/texture (21%)

Find recipes that hide or enhance the flavour such as a curry or an en croute.

It’s too expensive (21%)

It doesn’t have to be fresh fish and many oily fish is tinned, such as salmon and sardines, making it cheaper than the fresh options. 

I don’t like the smell in the kitchen when cooking it (17%)

Cooking fish in the oven and in tin foil will help to reduce lingering odours. Shop bought, ready-cooked fish is another solution.

I’m scared of eating bones (15%)

Ask your fishmonger to fillet it or buy pre-filleted options. With tinned items like sardines, blitz with other ingredients in the food processor to make pates or sauces and you won’t know they are there!

My partner/children/other family members won’t eat it (11%)

Have a look at our family-friendly recipes for inspiration and ideas.

I don’t know how to prepare it (9%)

The easiest solution is to ask your fishmonger to fillet it for you as this is by far the hardest bit.

I don’t know how to cook it (8%)

Fish that has already been filleted is quick and easy to cook. Simply grill or oven cook for 10 minutes.

Sustainability and impact on the environment (6%)

Check the source information of the fish you are buying before you make a purchase.



Why is eating Oily Fish so important for our health?


Oily Fish contains an Omega 3 fatty acid called DHA which is needed to keep our brains functioning at their normal, healthy best3. Other foods such as flaxseeds, walnuts and chia seeds contain Omega 3 in the form of Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA).

Our body can convert ALA into EPA and then onto DHA but the efficiency of this conversion can vary. A great way to ensure you are getting a good amount of Omega 3, DHA is to eat oily fish which naturally contain fatty acids in the DHA form your body uses. Both algae and oily fish contain both DHA and EPA, which is known to support heart health3.


 What is DHA and how does it work?

  • DHA is the most abundant Omega 3 fatty acid in the brain and central nervous system.
  • DHA is found throughout the body and is the most abundant Omega 3 fatty acid in the mammalian central nervous system.
  • As early as 1929, it was noted that babies that are breastfed have better cognitive outcomes than those who are artificially fed. This finding has since been attributed to the DHA content of breastmilk.
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) maternal intake contributes to the normal brain development of the foetus and breastfed infants4.

So how does the amount of DHA compare in popular oily fish choices?5


Want to get more DHA in your diet?

Try to follow the NHS advice eat two portions of fish a week one of then oily. We have created some easy recipes to make this easier.



1. Survey conducted by Research by Design in August 2019 with 1000 respondents

2. DHA contributes to normal brain function and normal vision. The beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 250mg of DHA.

3. EPA and DHA contribute to the normal function of the heart. The beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 250mg of EPA and DHA.

4. The beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 200 mg of DHA in addition to the recommended daily intake for omega-3 fatty acids for adults, i.e.: 250 mg DHA and EPA. The claim can be used only for food which provides a daily intake of at least 200 mg DHA.

5. The figures presented here are sourced from a report published by the review of Nutritional & Health Benefits for the British Trout Association, overlaid by a superficial survey of prepackaged seafood products in UK supermarkets. The resultant statistics in this table are representative but can not be taken as definitive. All natural ingredients including seafood contain varying amounts of nutrients dependent on multiple factors, in addition testing methods can vary.

Nutritional & Health Benefits for the British Trout Association, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, ©2013