The health benefits of eating seafood are well-documented but many consumers lack the confidence to select the right seafood and prepare it in-home, which is why many consumers turn to restaurants. Shellfish, which tends to be more costly and therefore to some consumers riskier to prepare at home, appear to be the seafood of choice when dining out, reports The NPD Group, a leading global information company.
Case shipments of shrimp, lobster, and other crustaceans shipped by broadline distributors to independent and small chain restaurants increased by nearly double-digits in the year ending March 2017 compared to last year, according to NPD Group’s SupplyTrack®, a monthly tracking service that tracks every product shipped from major broadline distributors to their foodservice operators. Clam and lobster servings ordered by restaurant customers at independent full service restaurants also increased by double-digits year over year. There was also a double-digit increase over last year in salmon servings ordered at casual dining independent restaurants, reports NPD Group’s CREST®, which tracks daily consumers use of restaurants.
The U.S. government recommends that Americans get a minimum of 8 ounces of fish or seafood weekly. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 80 to 90 percent of U.S. consumers don’t eat the recommended amount. Over the long-term, the consumption of seafood and other traditional center-of-plate proteins has been declining, finds NPD Group. The percentage of in-home dinner occasions that include fish and seafood has been relatively flat for over a decade.
“Restaurants provide the expertise in selection and preparation of seafood consumers are looking for,” says David Portalatin, vice president of industry analysis for NPD Group and author of Eating Patterns in America. “Understanding the barriers to consumers eating seafood and which types of seafood they prefer, will help foodservice manufacturers/producers and operators enable consumers to enjoy seafood and reap the nutritional benefits at the same time.”