Education, variety key to increasing consumption

If consumers were eating the recommended 8 ounces of seafood each week, annual per capita consumption would be at 26 pounds — not the 14.4 pounds it rests at now. So what can the industry do to increase seafood consumption in the U.S.?
The four panelists at the Seafood Expo North America conference “How Do We Increase Seafood Consumption in the United States” highlighted education and variety as the two main components to reversing the slump that U.S. seafood consumption is stuck in.
Bob Hartman, director of seafood for Market Basket — which has more than doubled its fresh and frozen seafood sales in the past few years after revamping all of its locations to include up to 24-foot seafood counters — said commitment leads to success. Market Basket took two years to educate its employees to the level of seafood knowledge that it was after.
David Blessing, events and culinary arts director at Longwood Lifestyle, said that when he recreated his menu it was educating staff that training their employees to know the story behind each species got them very excited about selling seafood.
“Our sales team felt like experts selling info to clients and it gave them more confidence in selling,” Blessing said. “Education, training, cutting fish with our seafood supplier really was great experience for me and my chefs. It gives them more appreciation for product they’re serving.”
“With beef and pork prices rising with no end in sight, this is the time to promote seafood. Prices are going to be very reasonable. It might be a short window but let’s take it to show [seafood] is the healthier option,” added Hartman.

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