Breaded popcorn mussels, salmon sashimi highlight US Foods bullish seafood outlook

US Foods' breaded popcorn mussels.

Though around 88 percent of American restaurants are dishing out some sort of seafood, US Foods Vice President of Product Development and Innovation Stacey Kinkaid said that could be the floor – not the ceiling – of seafood’s prevalence on U.S. menus.

Data recently released by research firm Technomic confirms seafood remains very popular on restaurant menus across the U.S., but favorable trends could make it ubiquitous.

“Pricing and supply availability has improved quite a bit, so there is certainly upward growth potential,” Kinkaid said.

Seafood-focused restaurant operators have seen a broad recovery coming out of the Covid pandemic and inflationary cycle, including Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.-based Darden, which recently reported positive fiscal year-end earnings, and Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.-based Captain D’s, which said it aims to expand its footprint to more than 1,000 units in the near future.

“During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, consumers told us that seafood was one of the foods they missed from restaurants most,” Datassential Associate Director Mike Kostyo wrote in the company’s Midyear Trends report. “Now, it seems like they [consumers] may be indulging in their favorite seafood options [again], as the number of seafood chains that broke into the Top 500 [list of restaurant chains by size] grew 37.5 percent this year.”

US Foods, one of the country’s largest foodservice distributors, has seen

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