When it comes to seafood consumption in the United States, more than 50 percent of what we eat is one of three types: shrimp, canned tuna and salmon. And it’s been that way for quite some time so this week, when the National Fisheries Institute (Nov. 2., 2017) released its updated numbers of the top consumed species, it came as no surprise that the top three—let alone the top ten—remained the same.
American’s Seafood Consumption is Stagnant
As for overall consumption, unfortunately there hasn’t been a big change even though many industry groups and companies alike have tried to up American’s seafood intake by influencing consumers with savvy marketing and grassroots education. In 2016, Americans consumed 14.9 pounds of seafood (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Still, some industry folks are saying our overall consumption is on an upward trend to which I disagree. Wholeheartedly … just look at the numbers for seafood consumption over the past decade (numbers are per-person average consumption in America by poundage):
2006: 16.5 2011: 15.0
2007: 16.3 2012: 14.4
2008: 16.0 2013: 14.5
2009: 16.0 2014: 14.6
2010: 15.8 2015 15.5
That’s hardly an upward trend. Quite frankly, it’s not much of a swing at all. Yes, the mid- to late-2000s saw numbers in the 16-pound range, but even that’s nowhere near where it should be … not, that is, if your concerned about heart health.
For comparisons sake, the average American consumes
• just over 50 pounds of beef
• more than 40 pounds of pork
• nearly 60 pounds of chicken
• and over 600 pounds of dairy each year.
Recall, we ate less than 17 pounds of seafood a year even when consumption was touted as high.
Why the Disparity?
There’re plenty of reasons that go into the disparity—I could write a book on it but then I’d lose your attention—but given all the reasons, the largest is quite simply this: most people don’t consider seafood in the same context as other proteins. And that needs to change. For the sake of our hearts. For the sake of our health and that of future generations.
So what are you afraid of? Why aren’t you eating your seafood? Drop me a line … I’d like to hear from you (and your friends). Maybe I can help you discover something fabulous from under the sea ; ) Because eating seafood should be like wearing your seat belt … it’s something you do because you want to live longer! EAT MORE FISH! PHOTO: Coho salmon with lightly fried yucca root … nope, not french fries—but it could be … so next time you plan to cook burgers and fries, make it salmon and fries instead … baby steps my friends, baby steps.