Report: Fewer seafood entrées on U.S. menus
By Steven Hedlund, SeafoodSource editor
21 December, 2010
The number of seafood entrées on menus across the United States fell 7 percent from the first half of 2009 to the first half of 2010, according to a report Chicago-based foodservice research and consulting firm Technomic is set to release on Thursday.
The report, “Market Intelligence Report: Seafood,” analyzes the trends affecting seafood at the foodservice level, using Technomic’s array of data-tracking tools, including MenuMonitor. The report compares data from the first half of last year to the first half of this year.
Though restaurateurs are menuing fewer seafood entrées overall, the number of sandwich and salad entrées featuring seafood are up 1.5 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively, according to the report.
However, the number of fish entrées, shellfish entrées and mixed-grill entrées are down 11.8 percent, 3.8 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively. Still, seafood has a significant presence on menus, according to the report, with nearly one in five entrées containing seafood. And 84 percent of consumers surveyed by Technomic say they eat seafood.
More than one-third of consumers say seafood appetizers, such as shrimp cocktail or crab cakes, are their most or second-most preferred appetizer type, and almost half of consumers order seafood appetizers at least sometimes.
What’s more, 18 percent of consumers who order seafood appetizers eat them as their entrée, a higher percentage than for most appetizer categories. According to the report, these diners may be looking for a lighter meal, or they may want to sample seafood items that may not be offered elsewhere on the menu.
When it comes to seafood and health, consumers are knowledgeable of seafood’s healthful benefits but may not order with health in mind, as 36 percent of diners order seafood fried, followed by grilled at 19 percent, broiled at 18 percent and baked at 14 percent.
“Opportunities in seafood seem to lie at opposite ends of the spectrum,” said Technomic. “Operators are either positioning dishes as comfort food or using seafood as a platform for unique and innovative flavors and ethic influences.”
More than half of consumers (51 percent) say they are likely or extremely likely to try new flavors at seafood chains like Red Lobster and Bonefish Grill.
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21 December, 2010