Kvichak Fish Company, Dillingham, Alaska     

As Alaska salmon starts hitting retail shelves and restaurants across the nation, Americans say they are willing to pay more for it. In fact, they’ll pay more for Alaska seafood across the board.

A nationwide online survey of 4,000 U.S. seafood consumers over the age of 18 revealed that nearly 40 percent are willing to shell out more for the Alaska brand.

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The survey was done by market researcher Technomic for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

Further, 71 percent of customers said they would be willing to pay at least 10 percent more, and 51 percent said they would pay a five percent premium. The survey also found that restaurants serving Alaska seafood have higher customer loyalty – 54 percent said they return to restaurants featuring Alaska fare and 48 percent recommend the eatery to others.

What’s driving the preference for Alaska?

Sixty-seven percent said they are trying to eat healthier and nearly half said they are cutting back on eating red meat.

Fifty-five percent said they like the taste and flavor of Alaska seafood and that it’s high quality protein.

A promising new response is that the industry supports U.S. jobs and is made up of family fishermen, and Alaska’s fisheries are sustainable.

Bob Goldin is Technomic’s vice president.

 “We do believe the demand for social responsibility and environmental protections are growing, especially among younger consumers.  We do expect that to continue to grow as a demand among certain consumer groups.”

The survey also identified 17 percent of the markets as “Conscious Consumers” who are focused on the nutrients in seafoods that help with weight loss, muscle recovery, heart health and brain function.

The Technomic results follow  a 2016 report by market tracker Datassential that showed Alaska seafood is ranked as the number one brand among proteins on all restaurant menus across the U.S.