Seafood sales spiked at retail stores during the first three quarters of 2021 with no slowdown in sight.
It’s a trend that picked up steam at the onset of the Covid pandemic when more Americans turned to seafood for its healthier benefits.
When compared to the pre-pandemic 2019 levels, all three areas of fresh, frozen, and shelf-stable seafoods easily trended ahead.
National market trackers say that 36 percent of Americans are eating more seafood in place of meat, and two-thirds are looking for more recipes and new products to help them do so.
Seafood Source news reports that fresh and frozen seafood sales reached nearly $5.5 billion from January through September.
And it appears that the industry’s longtime efforts to convince Americans that the quality of frozen seafood is as good or better than fresh is finally paying off, especially with a majority of younger buyers.
Of all frozen protein offerings, seafood was by far the largest category with sales reaching $533 million just in September. That month, frozen seafood sales soared 7 percent compared to 2020, and 38.4 percent against 2019.
Plus, three-quarters of consumers said they eat seafood at home or away from home at least once a month, and 46 percent eat it at least weekly, according to foodservice research firm Technomic. Only 12 percent of consumers say they never eat seafood.
And in more good news for Alaska, four in 10 seafood eaters make a significant effort to choose sustainable seafood.
But while wild-caught remains the most important choice at 36%, preference for farm-raised is on the rise at 29%.
Sales of farmed seafood grew 18.9% from January through May of this year – likely reflecting the fact that over 80% of America’s seafood is imported from elsewhere.