Americans love seafood.
In fact, we love it more than just about anyone else. According to a recently-published report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Americans enjoyed nearly five billion pounds of seafood in 2011; this number allowed us to surpass Japan in total seafood consumption, which puts us second behind only China.
And here in Alabama, we’re only helping those numbers grow. A pair of identical surveys were conducted among 400 respondents in both April and November of this year by New South Research for Alabama Gulf Seafood, and the results show that the future of our seafood industry is bright.
Here are some of the highlights from both of these recent reports.
According to the New South Research survey, nearly half of all Alabamians eat seafood at least once a week (47 percent in April and 41 percent in November). Another third of Alabamians said they eat seafood at least twice a month. Only 6 percent of those polled in both months said they eat seafood less than once a month.
Additionally, the survey revealed an increase in the number of times seafood fans eat Alabama Gulf Seafood. Of those who said they ate Alabama Gulf Seafood more than 6 times in the past year (60 percent in both polls), the average number of times increased from 7.3 to 8.7.
This comes as no surprise when considering the national numbers. According to the NOAA report, U.S. commercial fishermen harvested over 10 billion pounds of seafood in 2011 worth more than $5 billion. This was the highest commercial landing in the U.S. since 1994.
Alabama Gulf Seafood isn’t just a healthy and flavorful meal; it’s an increasingly essential part of our state’s economy.
With over 200 seafood processors and dealers in Alabama, our seafood industry is steadily growing. According to the NOAA report, Alabama saw a drastic increase in commercial harvesting in 2011, with 26,041,000 pounds of seafood with a dockside value of $50 million.
Leading the way for seafood harvesting in Alabama was Bayou La Batre. Despite a total population of just over 2,500, the “Seafood Capital of Alabama” harvested and processed over 22 million pounds of seafood in 2011 worth over $43 million.
When it comes to Alabama Gulf Seafood’s economic impact on our state, it’s important to understand the public perception of this product.
The New South Research survey asked its participants what the phrase “Alabama Gulf Seafood” brought to mind. In terms of location, the responses were fairly consistent: between the April and November groups, the response of “Caught in the Gulf” decreased from 24 percent to 17 percent, while responses of “Various Seafood” increased from 7 percent to 13 percent and “Gulf Shores/Gulf Coast” increased from 7 percent to 12 percent.
When it came to responses describing the taste and quality of Alabama Gulf Seafood, the differences between the April and November groups were positive across the board. Responses of “Fresh” increased from 16 percent to 18 percent, and responses of “Tasty/Good” doubled from 5 percent to 10 percent. Additionally, the notion of “Oil Spill” dropped from 13 percent to 9 percent.
The Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission (ASMC) was formed in March of 2011 by Governor Robert Bentley in order to increase business for Alabama’s seafood industry. The Alabama Gulf Seafood campaign was launched in April 2012 to assist the ASMC on this mission.
Those who took part in the New South Research survey in November were asked about their awareness of the campaign, and 53 percent of respondents said they had seen, read or heard an advertisement for Alabama Gulf Seafood in the past several months. Of those respondents, 78 percent agreed that the advertisements made them hungry, and 60 percent said that the advertisements convinced them to eat Alabama Gulf Seafood in the following weeks. Another 29 percent searched the internet to find out where they could eat or buy Alabama Gulf Seafood.
The Alabama Gulf Seafood campaign has helped Alabama’s seafood industry continue to grow, and our commitment to providing only the safest, cleanest and tastiest seafood has allowed our state to put out a quality product. If you’re a seafood fan, remember to ask for Alabama Gulf Seafood by name, and continue to support the waters that support our state.