Are consumers buying more seafood at retail?

Published on
March 16, 2010

Americans are eating more seafood to improve their health, according to a new study from the Food Marketing Institute and American Meat Institute.

The annual Power of Meat study, based on a survey of about 1,170 consumers nationwide, found that 28 percent are regularly buying more seafood to improve their eating habits.

“As part of shoppers’ healthy-eating strategies, they are most likely to cut back on portion sizes or second helpings, followed by choosing foods that are lower in sodium than their regular counterparts. The third most popular strategy is increased regularity of eating seafood,” said the study.

In addition, 52 percent of shoppers are “occasionally” buying more seafood to improve their eating habits. Still, age differences bring out stark differences in how people feel about seafood’s benefits. Forty percent of shoppers who are 65 years or older are interested in eating more seafood, while only 16 percent of shoppers who are 18 to 24 years old seek to eat more seafood.

Despite the increased popularity of seafood, beef and poultry still dominate Americans’ dinner plates. Thirty-three percent of survey respondents said they prepare chicken for dinner at least three times a week, and 30 percent said they make beef three times a week. Still, 12 percent prepare pork at least three times a week and 10 percent serve fish for dinner at least three times a week.

While consumers are eating more meat and poultry, they are cutting back on how much they spend on the items. Forty percent said they have changed the way they shop for meat since the economy dipped. Sixty-two percent of survey respondents who saw a significant drop in household income in 2009 said they have altered their meat shopping, according to the study.

By “altering” their meat purchasing, consumers are opting for cheaper cuts of meat, buying more products on special and substituting or eliminating meat and poultry.

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