The Other Two-Thirds


Steven Hedlund

Published on
February 9, 2009

At first glance, the United States and New Zealand have little in common. New Zealand is geographically isolated, with a population of only 4.3 million people, compared to more than 300 million people in the United States, the world’s largest economy.

But when it comes to seafood, the United States and New Zealand have a lot more in common than you may think.

Both countries have more than 15,000 kilometers of coastline and well-established fishing industries, including two of the world’s largest whitefish fisheries (Alaska pollock and hoki). What’s more, annual per capita seafood consumption averages only 24 to 25 kilograms (live weight equivalent) in each country, according the Food and Agriculture Organization.

There’s always been a certain percentage of Americans who just won’t touch fish. Yesterday I came across a Nielsen survey that found one-third of Kiwis don’t like the taste of seafood, and nearly 40 percent eat it less than once a week. I bet if you polled Americans, the results would be eerily similar.

So what’s a seafood marketer to do?

Targeting the two-thirds of consumers who like the taste of seafood, particularly the 40 percent who eat it infrequently, is the most effective way for retailers and restaurant operators to increase their seafood sales.

Consumers increasingly know fish is healthy (a convincing 95 percent of the New Zealanders Nielsen surveyed realize it is), they just may not know what it tastes like or how to prepare it.

This isn’t a challenge only the United States and New Zealand face. Annual per capita seafood consumption averages just 24 to 25 kilograms in Canada and Australia, too. Consumer education is key to pushing seafood consumption closer to the 30-kilogram mark.

Best regards,
Steven Hedlund

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