Fortune Fish & Gourmet

The Seafood & Gourmet Specialists

A few weeks ago, the National Fisheries Institute held its annual conference where members of the seafood community gathered to share and learn about trends affecting the industry.  Here are some interesting takeaways from the conference.

The promising projection of this year’s scallop harvest was very exciting to hear.  2018 should bring over 60 million pounds of meats to the market, making it the largest harvest since 2006.  Even better, the larger sized scallops, such as U-10s, are expected to be much more available. 

Americans need to eat more mussels.  Apparently, the U.S. is really lagging behind the rest of the world in the mussel consumption battle.  Americans on average eat about half the amount of mussels as Europeans do.  People who live in major mussel consuming countries like Spain, Denmark, Belgium, and France eat about 25 times more than we do.  With mussels being an affordable, healthy, year-round option, it only makes sense that we take more advantage of this species.

Underutilized species are performing well in their respective regions of harvest, but there is room for growth in outside markets.  We know and love fresh Walleye in the Midwest, but what about species such as Monkfish and Croaker?  The reverse can be said for people living on the East Coast, they may know Monkfish and Croaker, but are they familiar with the wonderful Walleye?  There is room for growth in underutilized species’ sales, don’t be afraid to branch out.  It is good for your guests and the environment. 

Production fell for both Lobsters and Snow Crab last year, but the respective markets responded quite differently.  Customers saw lobster prices fall, even though production was tight, while Snow Crab prices reached some lofty figures due to lack of supply.  There won’t be any immediate relief for Snow Crab users - 2018 is projected to be just as bleak, though projections for future harvests are quite positive based on juvenile biomass.  Depending on the survival rate of these crabs, the future could be promising.  We will probably see some pressure on Lobster pricing this year as large venues are projected to substitute Lobsters for Snow Crab due to high costs. 



Another hot topic of the conference was the growing trend of meal kits and how when done properly, they can be a driving force in consumer habits.  Lobster Gram and Terras Kitchen were just a couple that were highlighted as companies bringing thoughtful dishes to the at-home consumer using sustainable, high quality ingredients.  This is a trend that many traditional grocers are keeping an eye on.
There is always a plethora of information to be gleaned from the NFI Conference.  It is an engaging event where industry leaders get to interact and educate members in a convivial setting.  The speakers are enlightening and always enthusiastic to share valuable insight.  In each session you can sense a shared passion for seafood from all the attendees.  We will continue to work with the NFI to create a strong, sustainable future for the seafood industry. 



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