This Grocery Store Food Has Exploded in Popularity, New Data Shows

Amanda McDonald
·2-min read

Seafood sales hit $16.6 billion in 2020, representing a year-over-year increase of 28.4%, according to new data from the Food Industry Association (FMI).

Americans found themselves eating at home more than ever because of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Many seeking healthier choices increasingly turned to frozen, fresh, and deli seafood, the data shows. And they didn't simply settle for sardines—they indulged, according to Supermarket News. Crab and lobster saw the biggest jump, with sales rising 60.2% and 59.9% respectively. (Related: Grocery Shortages To Expect in 2021, According to Experts.)

Consumers also sought out more information about how to cook and flavor the seafood they bought at marketplaces. They turned to store seafood counters, websites, and apps for guidance. And this could signal a change.

“The analysis suggests an urgency for food retailers to expand their seafood programs to help sustain consumer awareness of this protein that has emerged in popularity as a result of the pandemic,” Rick Stein, the vice president of fresh foods for FMI, said of the findings. “The call to action among grocers is to focus on seafood nutrition, cooking guidance, meal ideas, and sustainability both in-store and online as ways to maintain shopper interest in seafood.”

Back in mid-2020, fresh seafood was actually hard to find during shopping trips. Small fishing boats across the globe were hit hard amid the pandemic, leaving the markets they supplied uncertain. Many restaurants, hotels, and catering services also halted operations, meaning fewer businesses were purchasing fish.

For some quick inspiration, here are our favorite 43 Healthy Seafood Recipes That Are Surprisingly Easy to Make. And to get all of the latest grocery store news delivered right to your email inbox every day, sign up for our newsletter!