Americans turned to seafood in droves during the Covid pandemic, seeing it as a healthier alternative to red meat, and the trend continues.

A new national survey reveals that 26 percent of U.S. consumers said they purchased seafood for the first time during the pandemic, nearly half are trying to increase their seafood intake and up to 74 percent plan to continue cooking seafood at home.

That’s according to a 2021 Power of Seafood report by Dataessential which tracks national market trends.

Seafood saw unprecedented growth in grocery sales at nearly 30 percent over the past year, far exceeding all other food categories.

The top reasons? It’s healthier said 80 percent, and nearly 60 percent said they prefer the taste. And 76 percent of consumers are likely to purchase fish that’s frozen.

Topping the seafood list of seafood favorites is salmon, either frozen or fresh, and seven out of 10 surveyed said they prefer Alaska salmon over Atlantic salmon.

By a five to one margin, people said they prefer wild over farmed seafood; well over 60 percent said they want to know where their fish comes from and that it’s sustainably sourced.

Having less harmful additives was also a top three reason consumers prefer wild-caught seafood.

Interestingly, nearly 75 percent of consumers said they select seafood and plant-based foods for their healthy appeal, yet when it comes to flavor, seafood outpaced plant-based by 55 to 24 percent.

Over 70 percent of those surveyed said they are more likely to buy seafood when they see the Alaska logo and are willing to pay more for it.

And 82 percent of consumers believe a store that displays the Alaska seafood logo means they are selling high quality fish and shellfish.

The seafood sales staff is the number one resource buyers look to for information, the report says, and store-provided recipes are the top choice for encouraging people to eat more seafood at home.

The Power of Seafood report was compiled by Dataessential for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.