Top 10 List Offers a Look Back in Time 

2020 consumption illustrates contraction at foodservice but growth for some species  

May 16, 2022 – Washington, DC – In 2020, Americans ate 19 pounds of seafood per capita, down slightly from 19.3 pounds in 2019. The onset of COVID-19 brought significant disruption to traditional business operations and consumer behaviors. While restaurants were forced to shutter, there was an impressive uptick in seafood purchases at retail but apparently not enough to find an equilibrium in the first full year of the pandemic.

With a reputation for versatility at home and in foodservice, Shrimp not only maintained the top spot but grew its number, reaching a record for the crustacean at 5 pounds per person. Shelf-stable stalwart Canned Tuna saw a jump in consumption, as did a variety of value white fish. Meanwhile, Scallops joined the Top Ten List.

The raw data provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is historically retrospective, so pandemic-related market forces will likely only really be illustrated by data released over the next few years. 

“The next Top Ten list could answer some long-held questions,” said NFI Programs Director, Richard Barry. “Keep in mind, experts at the Global Seafood Market Conference, in January, were busy mapping a predicted overall increase in pandemic-era seafood consumption and species diversification trends, so watch this space.”

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Melaina Lewis
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