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Seafood consumption per capita drifts higher in the United States

Thursday, April 11, 2024

U.S. residents consumed an average of 20.5 pounds of seafood— finfish and shellfish—per capita in 2021. The U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Office of Science and Technology publishes annual consumption estimates for seafood produced through aquaculture and captive fisheries, domestically as well as those imported from other countries. Over the last three decades, demand for farm-raised and wild-caught seafood has expanded as consumers’ tastes and preference for finfish and shellfish have increased. Per capita seafood consumption grew 30 percent in this period, led by fresh and frozen seafood. Growth in fresh and frozen seafood consumption per capita climbed from about 63 percent in 1990 to almost 80 percent in 2021. In contrast, per capita consumption of canned seafood has declined from a 35-percent share in 1990 to an 18-percent share of the total seafood consumed nationwide in 2021. Cured seafood consumption remained constant throughout the period of observation. According to NOAA, about 80 percent of all seafood consumed in the United States is estimated to come from imported products. This chart is drawn from the USDA, Economic Research Service Aquaculture topic page.

Seafood was one of the least consumed protein foods in 2014

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Seafood (fish and shellfish) is a nutrient-rich source of dietary protein which is relatively low in calories and saturated fat compared to some other protein sources. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that Americans eat a variety of protein foods, including at least two servings of seafood per week. According to ERS loss-adjusted food availability data, Americans consumed about 2.7 ounces of fish and shellfish per person per week in 2014, about one-third of the 8-ounce weekly minimum recommended for an average 2,000-calorie diet. Consumers’ appetites for fish and shellfish lagged behind most other foods in the protein group. Seafood demand may be limited by a number of factors, including a lack of awareness about the health benefits of seafood, inexperience with cooking methods and recipes, higher retail prices on average when compared with meat and poultry, and concerns about food safety and mislabeling of imported seafood products. This chart appears in “Americans’ Seafood Consumption Below Recommendations” in the October 2016 issue of ERS’s Amber Waves magazine.