Getting people to eat your products is the goal of any food provider and industry watchers track closely what people are buying, and why.
More Americans are aware of the health benefits of seafood and they will pay more for fish from well managed sources. That’s according to a new survey by Cargill, one of the nation’s largest producers and distributors of agricultural products.
Seventy two percent of more than 1,000 shoppers said they know fish is good for you; 88 percent said they are willing to reward good stewardship with their wallets. That rose to a whopping 93 percent of millennials.
In all, 70 percent said where and how their seafood is sourced affects their buying decisions; 84 percent said they trust their purchases are sourced in a safe and responsible way.
Buyers differ in nearby British Columbia where sensory qualities like appearance and taste dictate seafood preferences.
Price was the second most important purchasing point, according to a Duke University study in the Journal of Ocean and Coastal Management.
Shoppers ranked wild versus farmed as their fourth-most important factor with 75 percent preferring wild fish. Whether or not the fish is local ranked fifth in importance, and sustainability ranked sixth among the Canadians.
Touting seafood sustainability is still a rarity in US restaurants with just 1.1 percent mentioning it on their menus. That’s three times higher than in 2013, according to Datassential.
Other terms are more popular among diners: “Wild” appears on 9.3 percent of seafood menus and “local” is mentioned on 4.6 percent, also up a third.
The sustainability concept is getting a wider push from chefs who launched Smart Catch under the James Beard banner two years ago and now includes nearly 300 restaurants. The Smart Catch program lets chefs key in seafood information and get a good or bad choice rating based on US Seafood Watch data.