By: Rick Stein, Vice President, Fresh Foods, FMI and Steve Markenson, Director, Research, FMI


Today’s shoppers have stocked pantries, full freezers and overused cookbooks due to the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. In a time where grocery shopping habits have changed for so many, one would expect seafood sustainability to drop in importance in the minds of consumers. However, our 2021 Power of Seafood report finds just the opposite to be true.

The number of sustainability-focused seafood shoppers has increased from 29% in 2019 to 41% in 2021. These shoppers report that seafood certifications have a major impact on their seafood purchase decisions. In fact, 19% of seafood consumers say they specifically chose their primary seafood store because it sells sustainable seafood.

Profile of Today’s Sustainable Seafood Shopper

These shoppers tend to be male (59%), younger (with an average age of 42) and have above average household income, with 70% having children in their household. While they shop in-store two times a week, they also grocery shop online (84%). These sustainable seafood shoppers tend to spend above the average on groceries and are highly focused on nutrition and health, with 63% putting a lot of effort into making healthy and nutritious food choices.  

Perceptions Driving Sustainable Seafood Purchases

Among sustainable seafood shoppers, there remains a perception that consuming seafood does not have a negative impact on the environment. We see this by the fact that all components of sustainability—how it was caught and raised, worker treatment, environmental impact and use of recyclable/reusable packaging—are growing in importance among this segment. The food industry should continue to educate consumers about seafood sustainability by sharing seafood sourcing stories and highlighting seafood produce certifications.

Implications for Supermarkets

Consumers are buying and cooking seafood more than ever before, so the opportunity to share your sustainable seafood practices is paramount. Also, even if seafood consumers are not purchasing seafood online, they are spending time on your online platforms — so why not communicate on those as well? We anticipate the 41% of consumers looking for certifications and sustainable seafood practices to only increase, which will continue to reinvigorate interest in the seafood counter. 

Download the must-read 2021 Power of Seafood for insights on health and well-being, cooking seafood, sustainability, and much more.

Download 2021 Power of Seafood