July 17, 2013
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch … Trends and trouble spots for Alaska seafood. More after this —
The At-sea Processors Association’s contributions to Alaskan universities represent the largest privately funded marine research program in Alaska’s history. Learn more at www.atsea.org
Federal grants are available to help “Made in America” companies compete with imports and save US jobs. Learn more at www.nwtaac.org.
Next to catching the fish, the biggest challenge is getting people to buy it.
Market data shows seafood sales approached $15 billion at US seafood counters last year, a $1.5 billion increase since 2008. That’s good news for Alaska, which provides nearly 60% of the nation’s wild caught seafood, and 90 percent of its salmon.
According to the “Fish and Seafood Trends in the U.S.” report by Packaged Facts, 40% of consumers regard seafood as a healthier protein than meats– at the same time, 25% said they worry more about spoilage and contamination of fish than beef or poultry. That’s probably why Americans by far eat most of their seafood at restaurants.
Fifty one percent of customers believe that fresh seafoods are healthier than frozen. Packaged Facts projects that overall, depending on economy, the U.S. retail market for seafood will top $17 billion by 2017, reflecting a 3 % annual growth rate.
Seafood will make a bigger splash for American diners, says the National Restaurant Association. A survey of its 2,000 members shows the hottest trends are locally sourced meats, seafood and produce. Another top trend is healthful kids’ meals, environmental balance as a culinary theme, gluten-free foods, using new cuts of meats and sustainable seafood.
Speaking of that –40% of Americans said they were not familiar with the sustainable seafood concept in a nationwide survey by the Chicago-based Perishables Group. Topmost on their minds was food safety followed by price.
Less than 20% said they recalled seeing any eco-labels or messages in supermarkets or restaurants – yet 62% said they recall messages about wild or farmed.
In terms of organizations that promote sustainability, 46% percent were familiar with the World Wildlife Fund; only 5% were familiar with the Marine Stewardship Council.
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. (www.oceanbeauty.com) In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.