There are few places in the world that produce as much quality wild seafood as Alaska. The state’s icy, cold waters are home to five species of salmon and a wide variety of whitefish and shellfish.
Such catches can be used in a spectrum of dishes for home cooks—from Miso Alaska Halibut with Soba Noodle Stir-Fry to Whiskey-steamed Alaska Halibut to Lime Chipotle-roasted Alaska Snow Crab and more. Beyond the deliciousness Alaska seafood offers, the fish and shellfish also satisfies a variety of trending consumer preferences that benefit retailers.
By stocking the right fish species and being transparent about where they’re from, consumers are more likely to put those fish in their cart. Here are four ways seafood from Alaska fits today’s consumers’ desires and how these qualities are beneficial to grocery stores.
1. Knowing the origin
With an eye on food safety, consumers expect transparency in their food choices, and a big part of that is knowing where food comes from. In Technomic’s 2019 Center of the Plate: Seafood & Vegetarian Consumer Trend Report, almost half (46%) of consumers say is it important to know the origin country of the seafood they eat. Highlighting the Alaska origin is a boon for retailers – with 58% of seafood spenders saying they are more likely to buy seafood when they see the Alaska Seafood logo (Technomic 2018).
With Alaska seafood, consumers can be confident in knowing exactly where their seafood comes from—the waters off Alaska’s 34,000-mile coastline. In fact, the specific region of Alaska gives the seafood a unique appeal. For instance, its flavor and color characteristics come from the seafood species feeding on their natural diet of local marine organisms, and its textures come from swimming freely in the cold North Pacific.
By offering and highlighting seafood origins in stores, both in coolers and at the fish counter, consumers’ conscience of their foods’ origins can feel confident and comfortable with what they’re buying—and may even be more likely to choose seafood instead of another protein. By offering more enticing options and promoting those items’ origin, retailers can enjoy increased sales of quality seafood.
2. Packing a protein punch
According to Technomic’s 2018 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report, consumers’ top-of-mind nutrient they seek out is protein, with 41% of consumers saying they specifically look for protein when making food choices. High-protein foods such as the many species of Alaska seafood are a great source for that protein, and with an array of options available, there’s a nearly never-ending supply of different ways consumers can enjoy seafood. By showcasing recipe cards near the seafood counter and coolers along with prominently displaying the protein content of the different fish in each recipe, customers can quickly make decisions about what fish is right for their diets.
3. Healthier, better-for-you choices
Most consumers (73%) classify seafood as healthy or very healthy, according to Technomic’s 2019Center of the Plate: Seafood & Vegetarian Consumer Trend Report. Many (39%) are also reporting that they are eating more seafood in place of meat as a way of eating healthier. For retailers, expanding fish offerings means shoppers have more items to choose from when they want to make fish at home—whether that’s Grilled Salmon with Steamed Veggies, Fresh Halibut Tacos with Mango-Pineapple Salsa, Snow Crab Legs with Garlic Mashed Potatoes or something completely different. By offering more fish, customers can come back again and again for something new—and in that process, may find a new favorite.
Unlike other proteins, seafood contains marine omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA), which are said to improve heart health, suppress inflammatory responses, improve blood flow and improve brain function. While all seafood is rich in functional nutrition, many species with the highest levels of omega-3s in particular come from Alaska. What’s more, seafood also has numerous key vitamins and minerals such as vitamins E, A, D and B-12.
Consumers are not only more interested in their own health these days, but they are also concerned with the health of the environment. For that reason, many consumers are choosing food based on whether it was produced or harvested sustainably. When choosing where to shop, they may also look to stores who place focus on implementing sustainability initiatives, such as selling sustainable fish species, offering recycling programs and more.
Alaska has one of the world’s few governments that is truly dedicated to sustainability. It’s a commitment that dates all the way back to Alaska becoming a state in 1959, when Alaskans wrote sustainability into their Constitution—calling for all fisheries to be sustainably managed. In this way, Alaska promises to provide wild-caught and sustainable seafood for generations to come. Alaska’s dedication to responsible fisheries management, sustainable fishing practices, and increasing full utilization, are a model for the world.