“Eat Seafood, America!” is the driving message of an effort aimed at helping Americans stay healthy during this covid-19 public health crisis as well as boosting the U.S. seafood economy, supporting the 2 million American workers in the seafood industry.
This rapid-response initiative launched in early April 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 more than 46 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. In the first four months, the integrated consumer outreach campaign earned nearly 300 million potential impressions.
How can seafood help Americans?
"We all need to do our part to stay healthy and take pressure off our healthcare system. Higher intakes of specific nutrients appear to boost the immune system, and fish and shellfish are rich in many of these important nutrients.
“There is strong scientific evidence that eating a balanced diet with seafood rich in micronutrients and omega-3s reduces risks of chronic diseases, boosts immunity, and reduces inflammation in the body,” said Dr. Tom Brenna, chairman of the SNP Scientific & Nutrition Advisory Council and professor at University of Texas-Austin.
We encourage Americans to eat seafood and buy seafood to support their personal health and for the economic health of men and women working in our U.S. seafood economy.
The U.S. fisheries and seafood communities have been hit hard by the pandemic, as it has dramatically disrupted everyone along the supply chain, from fishermen and seafood farmers to fish processors to the restaurants that cook delicious seafood for the consumers. We need to act quickly to protect our seafood industry from the economic challenges caused by covid-19 and make sure healthy seafood is available for Americans now and after we come out of this crisis.
“Our message to America is that by eating seafood, you are supporting your health and helping to save jobs,” said SNP President Linda Cornish. “The coronavirus poses a significant threat to the future of an industry that employs approximately 2 million people in the U.S. That’s why we’re asking everyone in America to support the seafood community by buying seafood and eating seafood each week.”
Over the past few months, 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.
The targeted messaging motivated consumers to strengthen seafood consumption habits in a positive direction, with consumers surveyed in June and July reporting:
- 12 percent plan to add seafood to their meals soon;
- 22 percent learning to cook seafood more at home;
- 23 percent 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 36 percent of consumers seeking sustainable seafood look specifically for U.S. seafood.
“We are thrilled to see 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 for Ocean Initiative at the 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.”
National Seafood Month
With National Seafood Month on our plates, we offer supporters and the fishing industry a communications toolkit. With relevant and engaging messaging, it focuses on education and simple approaches to increasing seafood consumption.
The overarching message is: Eat Seafood, America! to make your life healthier, to make meals simpler, and to support fishing communities.
This would not have been possible without 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.
To learn more about how you can be involved, visit eatseafoodamerica.com.
Andrea Albersheim is director of Communication for the Seafood Nutrition Partnership, where she leads the public education campaign and partnership outreach efforts. She brings more than a decade of communications experience, focusing on food, nutrition and consumer issues.