Eat Seafood America! Messaging Drives Consumers to Eat More Seafood During COVID-19 Crisis

Eat Seafood America!, a rapid-response initiative launched in early April aimed at helping Americans stay healthy during the COVID-19 public health crisis as well as help boost the U.S. seafood economy, has been successful in encouraging consumers to eat more fish and shellfish. Of consumers surveyed in June and July, those who reported seeing the Eat Seafood America! messaging were three times more likely to have increased their seafood consumption in the last two months.

Supported by the newly formed Seafood4Health Action Coalition of 44 organizations (full list is available at eatseafoodamerica.com), convened by Seafood Nutrition Partnership, this unified consumer outreach campaign works to help Americans build habits to eat more sustainable seafood. As the Eat Seafood America! momentum continues, heading into September and October for National Seafood Month, additional organizations have joined the coalition along with retail partners, including Giant Eagle, H-E-B, Hy-Vee, Meijer and Publix.

In the first 16 weeks, the integrated consumer outreach campaign earned nearly 300 million potential impressions derived from news articles; videos created by a registered dietitian that aired on news stations across the country and 164,000 views on YouTube; and social media from coalition partners that generated more than 30 million impressions. Nearly 1,000 unique Twitter users shared the hashtag #EatSeafoodAmerica.

The targeted messaging motivated consumers to strengthen seafood consumption habits in a positive direction, with consumers surveyed in June[i] and July[ii] reporting:

  • 12% plan to add seafood to their meals soon
  • 22% learning to cook seafood more at home
  • 23% eaten more seafood in last two months

During this time, as consumers focus on health and supporting their local communities, the campaign is reinforcing the importance of well-managed fisheries as a priority for people who love fish. The surveys found that consumers look for the following when buying sustainable seafood:

  • 36% look for U.S. Seafood
  • 36% rely on grocery stores and/or restaurants for sourcing of sustainable seafood
  • 27% look for certification logos and programs

“We are grateful to all of our partners for working together on shared messaging to help drive consumer demand for seafood during this challenging time for the seafood community,” said Seafood Nutrition Partnership President Linda Cornish. “We are excited to take the lessons we have learned along with coalition building best practices from the rapid-response phase of the campaign and incorporate it into the recovery phase. I am excited to continue to work together in helping consumers build stronger habits for eating more seafood for improved health.”

Eat Seafood America! to make your life healthier, to make meals simpler, and to support fishing communities.

The Seafood4Health Action Coalition members have worked collectively to create relevant and engaging messaging for National Seafood Month, focusing on education and simple approaches to increasing seafood consumption.

Retail seafood sales have increased significantly year-over-year according to IRI – with seafood sales the strongest category at retail – and with new consumers trying seafood at home, it is important to support them with new recipes and tips to make sure those continued purchases result in delicious meals.

“We are thrilled to see that the Eat Seafood America! campaign has helped to encourage consumers to eat sustainable seafood and understand the importance of fisheries management as they began to bring seafood into their kitchens during COVID-19,” said Teresa Ish, Program Officer, Ocean Initiative at Walton Family Foundation. “Our hope is that this campaign continues to serve as a catalyst for everyone in the seafood sector to work together in a unified voice to generate consumer demand for seafood and offer a way to protect and strengthen the sustainable seafood supply chain we have worked so hard to foster.”

This impact would not have been possible without the funders and the joint collaborative efforts of the Seafood4Health Action Coalition. Funding support for the initial phase of the campaign was made possible by The Walton Family Foundation, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, NOAA Fisheries, and Chilean Salmon Marketing Council.

Learn more about supporting this effort as it continues and expands in 2021 by reaching out to Linda Cornish.

 

[i] Survey fielded June 24-25, 2020 of 545 people representative of the geographic area targeted. 95% confidence level, 4.2% margin of error.

[ii] Survey fielded July 30-August 2, 2020 of 552 people representative of the geographic area targeted. 95% confidence level, 4.17% margin of error.

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