No matter the conference, one topic seems to always make the agenda -- how to get Millennials to eat more seafood.
- Millennials (born between 1980-1995: 24-39 years of age today) are the generation reaching adulthood in the early 21st century.
- Raised in the midst of the technology revolution and see computers, tablets and the web as central to our work and life.
- There are around 13.8 million people who are millennials in the United Kingdom alone, according to consulting firm KPMG.
And though seafood is my beat, day in and day out, I have a confession to make: I am one of those Millennials.
I honestly don't even remember the last time I picked up any seafood item from the supermarket. Possibly because it is not appealing to me or possibly because my mind tells me it's going to make my kitchen smell.
Seafood is intimidating to the 'Millennial' culture. We know it's great for our health, but we're just lost on how to cook it, and at the cost we have to pay, we can't afford to make a mistake on a $15 (€13.50) meal.
Why would I want to spend so much time and money prepping a seafood meal, only to be disappointed (or to disappoint my guests)? In the battle for reliability and convenience, chicken wins.
If you think I'm an outlier, guess again.
According to Food Marketing Institute, 35 percent of Millennials are non-seafood consumers, while 28 percent of the older generation are non-seafood consumers. So more and more of us are staying away from seafood.
And apparently, many of us don't even own can openers because, as the media labels us, we are "lazy" and end up with no choice but to suck contents directly from the tin's razor-sharp lips, forever destroying our selfie pouts, as IntraFish Editor Rachel Mutter put it.
Well, lazy is an understatement. We Millennials eat out at restaurants during off-peak hours twice as much as our fellow non-Millennials do, according to the Boston Consulting Group.
We also like to get our hands on fast, fast-casual and takeout more than non-Millennials, who still enjoy seafood and a classic steak.
So, since we're conquering the casual-dining space, the seafood industry could use that to an advantage by offering more ready-to-eat and to-go options that are first of all cheaper, because the majority of us have less than $1,000 in our savings account and the rest of us have nothing at all, according to a report by GoBankingRates.
And then, when we do eat at home, another catastrophe arises. How do we cook seafood? Does it go in the oven? The pan? The microwave? Help!
We only spend 88 minutes on average to prep our food, present it and clean it up, compared to the previous generation (GenX) that spends 143 minutes on average, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
Don't despair: we can be convinced. If the industry could work harder to teach us how to cook seafood, and invest in marketing efforts to show us how quick and simple it really is (and prove to us our apartments won't smell for weeks afterwards), things could change.
Almost half of us rely on social media to make online purchases, according to social media management firm Sprout Social.
If the industry ups its game on social media maybe we would buy more seafood products because we get to see cool recipes we could recreate for cheap, as well as how simple it could be -- as long as there's value to it.