A short questionnaire was devised during the 4th ISAP conference in Halifax (2011) to gather some information on the algal eating habits of the participants. Responses were also collected from random members of the general public in Galway and Copenhagen. Most phycologists had eaten algae before (93%), but few participants ate it more regularly than per month. The general public responses were similar. A probability model tested the likelihood of a participant eating algae. Neither age nor nationality significantly influenced this probability, although gender increased the probability of eating algae regularly by 9% if the participant was male (at the 90% confidence limit). As hypothesised, being a conference attendee highly significantly increased the probability of eating algae by 22%, in comparison with non-conference attendees (i.e. the general public). The type of phycological research studied also had a significant effect. Researchers working with macroalgae were 22% more likely to eat algae, whereas microalgal researchers 15% less likely to eat algae on a monthly or more regular basis. The main reasons for eating algae by both groups were ‘taste’, followed by ‘other’ (undefined) reasons. Phycologists also ate algae for the perceived ‘health benefits’, whereas few members of the general public chose this option. The difference in eating habits between the groups may be attributable to the lack of algal knowledge within the general public group.