Progressive Grocer

MAR 2017

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64 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | March 2017 2017 Retail Seafood Review the previous year and the largest average dollar sales increase compared with the prior year. Another reason for last year's lower-than-expected sales could be basic lack of consumer knowledge about seafood. Nielsen notes that "consistent consumer edu- cation concerning seafood's benefits and preparation is [a] hurdle to clear" in growing category sales. Similarly, Jeff Brammer, business unit manager of North American seafood operations at Ann Arbor, Mich.-based product testing, inspection and certification organization NSF International, points out in a recent white paper, "Unraveling the Mystery of Seafood With Transparency and Education," that the category, "with its supply chain complexity and its lack of familiarity in many markets, is often labeled as risky and mysterious despite the health benefits touted by the medical profession." As a result of this, Brammer believes, "Many consumers often walk away from seafood as their protein choice because they feel it is too complicated." Supplying the Demands When it comes to what customers are demanding from seafood depart- ments, this year's Retail Seafood Re- view recorded some interesting shifts. For one thing, U.S. wild-caught seafood swam straight to the top of the chart, with 57.4 percent seeing increased demand for it, from its fourth-place spot last year. In its wake were value-added products (up from fifth place), value-priced items (down one spot), free-from products (also down a rung), and smaller portions/ pack sizes (last year's No. 1). e triumph of wild-caught seafood may well have something to do with its perceived higher quality among certain consumers, in keeping with the finding of a 2015 Omnibus survey by New York-based market researcher Edel- man Berland that 53 percent of those who prefer wild-caught seafood believe that it tastes better than farm-raised options. Indeed, farm-raised seafood came in at sixth place, with 26.5 percent of respondents noting more demand for it, while 19.1 percent said that demand had fallen. introducing 1-800-4-ROBBIE

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