Seafood ‘a leading driver’ in grocery sales in 2020 says FMI report

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Seafood generated more than $16.6 billion in sales for food retailers in 2020 and outperformed other fresh food categories according to a new report from US-based FMI—The Food Industry Association.

The Power of Seafood 2021 study was released at the end of February and claims that seafood sales – which include fresh, frozen, canned and pouched products – grew at 28.4%, outperforming other fresh departments such as meat or deli.

Consumers insights from the report found that the top reason for increased seafood consumption during the Covid-19 pandemic year was to try and eat more healthily (59% of the sample). Also, 72% of frequent seafood consumers were putting more effort into making healthy and nutritious choices due to Covid-19.

Among other finding:

  • 74% of seafood consumers, and 43% of non-seafood consumers, said they wanted to become more knowledgeable about the nutritional benefits of seafood
  • 36% in general, and specifically more seafood consumers (at 53%), said they were cooking more meals with seafood during the pandemic
  • 75% of seafood consumers wanted to be more knowledgeable about how to cook, prepare and flavour seafood
  • 20% of survey respondents looked to the seafood departments of food retailers for guidance, as well as to grocery store websites or apps (18%)
  • 71% of seafood consumers wanted to be more knowledgeable about seafood sustainability and 41% of them (up from 29% in 2019) said that sustainable seafood certifications had a major impact on their purchases.

Rick Stein, vice president of fresh foods for FMI, commented: “The analysis suggests an urgency for food retailers to expand their seafood programmes to help sustain consumer awareness.”

FMI has also urged a call-to-action among grocers to put more focus on seafood nutrition, cooking guidance, meal ideas and sustainability both in-store and online as the best ways to maintain the momentum of last year’s shopper interest in seafood into 2021.

Seafood is a major source of omega-3 fats and is also rich in nutrients such as vitamin D and selenium, high in protein, and low in saturated fat.

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