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What drives seafood purchasing during the holidays and beyond?

While it’s important for retailers to know what consumers are aware of, it’s even more important to know what inspires a purchase. But some trends are merrier than others.

Seafood sellers should take advantage of Christmas food indulgence and parlay that into New Year resolutions success, according to a new report from market-research firm Nielsen.

"Among the various options available during the holidays, seafood has more of a health halo than many traditional offerings, given the presence of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and low fat content," Nielsen said.

Given these health advantages, the period around New Year’s—when consumers are closely minding their resolutions—is when retailers can reel in big seafood sales, the research firm said.

Retailers should be capitalizing on the protein content in seafood, which is something many consumers are actively seeking out, but not always aware of, according to Nielsen.

In fact, 55 percent of US households say high protein is now an important attribute to consider when buying food for their households. Across the country, 6 percent of households include someone who lives on a high-protein diet. That’s more than 5.4 million people, Nielsen said.

But “healthy” to consumers means a lot more than just protein content. Claims about how food is processed, raised or caught and other sustainability efforts have grown increasingly important for many consumers, the researchers said.

So what is important to seafood consumers?

According to findings from a recent Nielsen survey, which first assessed consumer awareness across a range of product claims, "farm versus wild caught" topped the list, as a majority of consumers are aware of these trends. From an age demographic perspective, overall, "Baby Boomers" are the most aware of the different seafood claims we tested.

While it’s important for retailers to know what consumers are aware of, it’s even more important to know what inspires a purchase. Dolphin-safe has the highest positive response, meaning consumers are more likely to purchase products because of this claim, but only 23 percent of consumers are aware of the claim.

Conversely, “farm raised” had the highest awareness rate, and prompted nearly the highest negative response, or the claim makes them less likely to purchase, with 27 percent of respondents saying they would be less likely to purchase seafood with that claim.

"'Farm raised' had the highest awareness and prompted nearly the highest negative response, with 27 percent of consumers less likely to purchase."

Unlike “farm raised,” consumers are very aware of the “wild caught” claim, and this claim is more likely to spark a purchase, as 56 percent of consumers stated that it makes them more likely to make a purchase.

For “wild caught,” the claim resonates most with households making $70,000 (€61,538) and over per year, older and Asian and Hispanic households.

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