New hope for driving consumption?


April Forristall, assistant editor

Published on
July 30, 2013

After six years covering stories for the seafood industry and monitoring what is written in the mainstream media, I’ve realized the majority of the coverage centers around the health benefits or scares related to seafood consumption. Typical topics are that pregnant woman should eat more seafood or avoid it, seafood helps prevent dementia, omega-3 fatty acid benefits and so on.

The latest report is about seafood consumption lowering anxiety levels in pregnant women. That, combined with Mike Urch’s column on SS last week about how the seafood industry needs to do a better job of explaining to consumers why seafood is healthy to increase consumption, got me thinking that the seafood industry needs something new to get people’s attention. That message may be delivered by the recently launched Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP), which was formed to address seafood deficiency in Americans’ diets and build awareness of the protein’s health and nutritional benefits.

Linda Cornish, SNP executive director, said that people know seafood is healthful, but the intimidation factor in terms of preparation keeps it the least-consumed protein in the United States.

One of the challenges of addressing the seafood deficiency is telling consumers how to eat seafood isn’t as easy as just telling people to eat seafood. In this situation, a national generic marketing campaign would not work like it did for the “incredible, edible egg.” But with all of the social media and new avenues to reach consumers there has to be a more aggressive way get that information to the general buying population. While SNP is still in its formative stages and hasn’t divulged its full strategy, there are more marketing opportunities now than a decade ago.

The SNP is a step in the right direction for the U.S. seafood industry. More than 30 seafood companies and organizations came together to launch the group — proving that despite the fractured nature of the industry there is a common goal it can unite behind. It also shows that despite the lack of a national seafood marketing campaign (an attempt to add legislation to the Farm Bill that would support such a program failed in June), the need is still there.

Hopefully the SNP’s plans will generates positive news and combat some of the misinformation, both of which is sorely needed to move the consumption dial.

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