Survey finds Americans put premium on Alaska seafood

New research has found that nearly 40 percent of Americans would pay more for Alaska seafood. With the Alaska salmon selling season now underway, that’s music to the ears of retailers and restaurants looking to grow their profit margins.

The consumer survey was completed by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) and research firm Technomic. The online survey, completed in January 2018, registered the opinions of 4,000 American seafood consumers over the age of 18.

The survey found that 39 percent agree that they would pay more for Alaska seafood. For those willing to pay more, 71 percent said they would be willing to pay at least 10 percent more, while 51 percent said they would pay at least a five percent premium. The top reasons respondents said they support Alaska seafood is that it is a “pure source of healthy proteins,” followed by the fact that the industry supports American jobs, is sustainable, and is made up of family fishermen. 

“We continue to feature the Alaska sustainability story through images of fishing in Alaska. It is clear through the research that American jobs [are] an important piece of the sustainability [and] quality story of Alaska seafood,” Victoria Parr, domestic marketing director for ASMI, told SeafoodSource.

The survey also found that restaurants serving Alaska seafood benefit from increased consumer loyalty. The survey found that 54 percent of patrons will return in the near future to the restaurants that serve Alaska seafood, and 48 percent will recommend the establishment to their family and friends. 

“Our research does show that that trust is something that the Alaska seafood industry has earned over the years over both channels: Foodservice and retail,” Parr said. “Just over 60 percent say they trust the business cares about food quality and that the location is a ‘good place to buy seafood.’”

The new research also identified two “super-consumer” groups that account for 55 percent of domestic seafood spend: The “originator” and the “optimizer.”

The originator is typically female, and is an adventurous eater who pays attention to trends. For the originator, dining is a form of entertainment – both in and out of the home, and this consumer is always socializing. 

“She is eating healthier than she did two years ago and eating more seafood improves her diet,” Parr said.

The optimizer is typically male, and is a busy consumer who sees food as fuel.

“He is willing to source quality fuel from a variety of sources. He is concerned about his food choices and the impact they have on the planet,” Parr said. "This buyer is also price sensitive and brand-loyal.”

Meanwhile, the study also identified a “Conscious Consumer,” which makes up 17 percent of the market, and is focused on functional foods, health, and the environment. 

“Consumers are not just focused on weight loss, but are looking at the functional benefits of certain foods such as the quality nutrients in seafood which can help with muscle recovery, heart health, brain function, etc.,” Parr said.

In fact, 67 percent of those surveyed said the reason they are eating more seafood is because they are trying to eat healthier. In addition, the survey found 55 percent said their increased seafood intake is because they like the taste and flavor, 55 percent said it is a high-quality protein, and 47 percent said they are trying to cut back on red meat consumption.

Since so many more Americans are interested in health and functional foods, ASMI is developing new “on-trend recipes that are rooted in health,” in partnership with organizations like the American Institute for Cancer Research and American Diabetes Association, Parr said.

Photo coutesy of Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute


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