ARLINGTON, VA – FMI—The Food Industry Association has released the 2021 Power of Seafood report, which finds the seafood department was a leading driver in the percentage of increased grocery sales in 2020.  

The seafood category saw a 28.4% increase in sales, which exceeded the sales growth of the produce, meat or deli departments. In total, seafood (fresh, frozen, canned, pouches, etc.) generated more than $16.6 billion in sales for food retailers in 2020. Insights from the report find the biggest reason for increased seafood consumption is consumers are trying to eat healthier (59%).   

“The analysis suggests an urgency for food retailers to expand their seafood programs to help sustain consumer awareness of this protein that has emerged in popularity as a result of the pandemic,” said Rick Stein, vice president of fresh foods for FMI. “The call to action among grocers is to focus on seafood nutrition, cooking guidance, meal ideas and sustainability both in-store and online as ways to maintain shopper interest in seafood.”   

Key focus areas from the report include: 

  • Meet Shoppers’ Nutritional Desires - The Power of Seafood 2021 finds 72% of frequent seafood consumers are putting more effort into making healthy and nutritious choices since the pandemic. At the same time, 74% of seafood consumers, and 43% of non-seafood consumers, want to become more knowledgeable about the nutritional benefits of seafood.  

  • Offer Shoppers Seafood Cooking Guidance - More consumers (36%) in general, and specifically more seafood consumers (53%), say they are cooking more meals with seafood during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, most seafood consumers (75%) want to be more knowledgeable about how to cook, prepare and flavor seafood. Some survey respondents report looking to food retailers’ seafood departments for guidance (20%) as well as grocery store websites or apps (18%); however, there is more food retailers can do to become a go-to-resource.  

  • Showcase Seafood Sustainability - The Power of Seafood 2021 finds 41% of seafood consumers, up from 29% in 2019, say sustainable seafood certifications have a major impact on their seafood purchases. In fact, 71% want to be more knowledgeable about seafood sustainability.  

In addition to these focus areas, the report outlines a new emerging seafood consumer as outlined in the How The Seafood Shopper Has Changed video. The Power of Seafood 2021 was conducted by FMI and made possible by Veramaris.