Marketers need to focus on millennials
Seafood suppliers should be marketing their products to casual-dining restaurants, which is the winning restaurant channel for trying new food items across all age groups. This was part of the information presented by Warren Solocheck, VP of client services/development for NPD Group, to the National Fisheries Institute (NFI)’s Global Seafood Market Conference in Miami.
Some of the data was from a custom study NPD commissioned for NFI in December that involved 935 consumers who had eaten seafood in the past 12 months and visited a casual-dining restaurant in the past three months.
Restaurant visits per person per year have dropped from 208 in 2008 to 193 in 2013.
While restaurants are increasing their menu mentions of fried fish and lobster, the biggest declines in menu mentions has been in shellfish, said Solocheck.
Opportunity also lies with restaurant take-home meals, as seafood menu items are only 4 percent of take-home entrées, compared with pizza at 27 percent and chicken at 22 percent. “Is it lack of portability or lack of appropriate packaging [for seafood products],” asked Solocheck.
He also presented a comparison of eating habits of millennials vs. baby boomers. Millennials are eating more at home and are more inclined to order products with health forward attributes such as organic and vegetarian. Meanwhile baby boomers are more drawn to products displaying “avoidance” attributes such as sugar-free or low cholesterol.
“Seafood has to continue to meet the demands of boomers, but broaden its appeal to millennials. If you want to sell more seafood to millennials you need to sell them on health,” said Solocheck.
In the past year boomers ordered seafood 64 percent of the time, compared to 39 percent of millennials.