Grocers Help Shoppers Connect Seafood, Wellness
Something’s fishy when it comes to seafood and wellness. Many Americans know that eating seafood is good for them, and yet average intakes are well below optimal amounts recommended by health authorities. Fortunately, retailers in partnership with retail dietitians can use health-focused education and promotions to reel in more seafood sales.
Awash in Health Benefits
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults consume about 8 ounces of seafood weekly (less for young kids). Research shows that consuming seafood, which includes fish and shellfish, is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and death, largely thanks to EPA and DHA, types of omega-3 fatty acids abundant in many types of seafood. When pregnant or breastfeeding women eat at least 8 ounces of DHA-containing seafood per week, their infants may enjoy improved health outcomes.
Some research shows that eating seafood reduces risk for obesity. In addition, many types of seafood are excellent sources of lean protein, which is a powerful hook for today’s health-conscious shoppers.
Seafood School for Shoppers
Common consumer barriers to purchasing seafood are perceived high cost, lack of confidence about preparing it well at home, and concerns about mercury content. Retailers and retail dietitians can help break down these barriers to boost seafood sales.
To lure cost-conscious shoppers, feature promotions that encourage stocking up on economical frozen and canned seafood, especially tried-and-true consumer favorites like shrimp, tuna and salmon. At the fresh seafood case, point out less-expensive options and provide safe storage tips to help avoid spoilage and waste.
Help home cooks get pleasing results by offering a guide that matches different types of seafood to the best cooking methods — for instance, salmon is sturdy enough for the grill, but delicate flounder lends itself to poaching or steaming — as well as complementary flavors and seasonings. Simple recipes at the point of purchase and on your website can help move seafood from special-occasion status into the weekly meal rotation.
To allay concerns about mercury content, the Dietary Guidelines recommend seafood choices that are higher in the omega-3s EPA and DHA, and lower in mercury. These include salmon, anchovies, herring, shad, sardines, Pacific oysters, trout, and Atlantic and Pacific mackerel (not king mackerel, which is high in mercury). As highly trusted sources of health and nutrition information, your retail dietitians can address shopper questions and help those with special nutrition needs navigate the best seafood choices and amounts to eat.
October is National Seafood Month, but there are plenty of ways to keep promotions flowing throughout the year. Visit the National Seafood Partnership website for resources that include a calendar of health-themed promotional ideas and recipes; an FAQ to help answer shoppers’ questions about selecting, preparing and storing their purchases; sample tweets on seafood and health; and much more. Retail dietitians will appreciate the resources in the nutrition communications toolkit, including tips and talking points for seafood store tours and cooking demos.