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Circana Research Reveals How to Catch More Seafood Sales


The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute teamed up with Circana to conduct an in-depth study into what’s driving evolving consumer preferences when it comes to purchasing seafood.

ASMI shared vital findings with Progressive Grocer that will help retailers hook more shoppers and generate higher transactions.

PG: Are people buying more seafood? What’s driving greater consumption?

ASMI: Fifty-four percent of those surveyed eat more seafood than two years ago. In fact, 61% say they enjoy seafood at least once a week. That’s contributed to total seafood sales rising 30.2% in the last four years.

After sushi, frozen finfish produced the biggest gains, up almost 36% over the four-year period. Frozen shellfish sales were also strong, rising 35%.

With wellness top-of-mind, 60% of those surveyed said they eat more seafood because they feel it is healthier than other proteins. It isn’t just about health—almost 30% indicated they enjoy dining on seafood.

Six in 10 consumers want to eat more seafood. The top three reasons they pinpoint on why seafood is their choice are that they feel seafood is healthier, they prefer the taste and that it has more protein.

PG: What motivates shoppers to buy seafood on shopping visits?

ASMI: There are many levers pulling people to seafood. Inside the store, the leading influences are promotions, displays, free samples and recommendations from store employees. Other motivators are as simple as craving seafood, seeing a recipe, a recommendation from family or friends, a family member’s request, or an advertisement.

While strolling grocery aisles, seafood sales staff are the number one resource consumers go to for information—almost 50% indicated that as their source for education. Materials and brochures are also crucial at the point of sale, according to Circana’s findings.

PG: What are the top attributes when selecting seafood for home consumption?

ASMI: Taste and freshness are paramount, coming in at number one and two and followed closely by healthy to eat, safer to eat and affordable.

Frozen shellfish gets high marks, too. Eighty percent indicated they are likely to buy frozen. Attributes associated with frozen seafood include convenience, affordability, availability, taste, ease of cooking, reduced food waste and environmentally friendly.

PG: There is already a huge demand for seafood, but how can grocers catch even greater sales based on the Circana findings?

ASMI: The answer is simple—give them more. Almost 80% indicated a greater selection would encourage them to eat seafood more often.

Drilling down, a greater array of wild-caught seafood encourages one-third of consumers to purchase more frozen seafood. Wild caught is preferred four to one over farm raised.

The reasons wild-caught lures consumers mirror the motivators that make seafood so attractive overall. They believe seafood tastes great, is healthy and natural.

Sustainability is also rising to the top, with one in three consumers indicating more sustainability choices would inspire them to buy more frozen seafood.

Seafood from Alaska is a winner with consumers by a wide margin and that’s why it is important in grocery assortments.

It all comes down to taste—58% of consumers say Alaska salmon tastes better. Unaided, the top terms people use to describe seafood from Alaska are fresh/fresher, great taste and high quality.

The bottom line is that labeling your seafood with WILD and ALASKA together is likely to boost the likelihood of purchase.

Sustainably-caught in Alaska

PG: What does carrying seafood from Alaska mean to the bottom line?

ASMI: Based on the lure of Alaska seafood, Circana’s research reveals that the Alaska Seafood logo ignites purchase interest. Eighty-two percent indicated they would be “a lot more or somewhat more likely” to buy with the Alaska Seafood logo. Also, 78% expressed they would pay more for seafood displaying the logo.

Spotlighting the Alaska Seafood logo in store tells customers that the products are high quality (52%), the store cares about the quality of the fish it sells (48%). they recommend Alaska seafood/ fish, and the retailer supports sustainable fisheries.

Transactions with refrigerated Alaska seafood in the basket are more than 5% higher than other refrigerated options. Trips per shopper and units sold per trip are higher for Alaska seafood. Annual units per customer per buyer are up 7% higher with Alaska refrigerated seafood versus the competition, where units are down 6%.

The Circana research validates the power of seafood to build traffic, baskets, sales and satisfied shoppers.


The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) is a partnership between the State of Alaska and the Alaska seafood industry promoting the benefits of wild and sustainable Alaska seafood and offering seafood industry education. For more information:

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