How to increase Seafood consumption

Norwegian Seafood Council Fish, Dinner, young adultsPhoto: Norwegian Seafood Council

Great chance to increase Seafood consumption

Norwegians are among the largest seafood consumers in the world (after Japan), but consumption is down, especially among young persons. For those under 34 years of age, seafood consumption has dropped by 46 per cent since 2012. This tendency can have serious consequences both for public health and the industry. However, a report from the Norwegian Seafood Council shows that many people would like to eat more seafood and that the potential for increasing consumption is large.


– «Fiskespiseren» (The Fish Eater) is the title of the report, fresh from the press. It is Norway’s most comprehensive insight report for seafood consumption, Manager of Market Insight and Market Access in the Norwegian Seafood Council, Asbjørn Warvik Rørtveit, explains.

The report is based on a number of studies on food habits, shopping carts and people’s thoughts and associations to fish and other seafood. It shows that although the consumer numbers are gloomy, it is viable to reverse the trend: Many say that they want to eat more fish, they just do not get around to actually doing so.

Growth potential of 44 per cent

Had everyone eaten as much fish as they really wanted to, Norwegians would have consumed 183 million more seafood meals a year. There are special fish people say they will eat more of, and then mainly in the form of salmon and cod for dinner.

Young persons between 20 and 40 are in a unique position. They are the ones who eat the least fish, and more and more of them do not eat fish at all. In addition, they are starting to form diets, habits that they also likely pass on to their children. The consumption among those 65+ is still stable, which slows down the decline in total consumption. But when these gradually die off, consumption will drop further. The decline can be dramatic if it continues at the same speed as now.

However, the report shows that in the age group 20-40 years, the seafood consumption for dinner has a growth potential of 44 per cent. That the seafood consumption has increased potential in this context means that people say that they really would like to eat more seafood than they currently do. Instead, they end up shopping for other foods like minced meat and chicken.

Hard to make, hard to find

The reasons why ever fewer eat seafood is compound, but according to the report, it appears that especially young persons have little knowledge of how to prepare a fish meal. The younger generation has grown up with pizza, tacos and Tex-Mex food, where fish have little space, and seafood products are not sufficiently with the times. Moreover, between the ages of 20 and 40, they often have a stressful everyday life with young children, which requires that the dinner must be bought fast and be quick and easy to prepare. In that area, fish loses out to meat. In the store, the seafood is less visible and there are far more easily prepared, uncooked dishes made from meat rather than fish.

– In the survey, many of the young adults say that they would have eaten more fish if there were more pre-prepared products available, says Rørtveit.

Couples with children eat close to 23 million seafood meals a year. Consumption can be increased by 16 million meals, according to the survey.

The report also points to price and experiences from dull fish dinners from their own childhood as being the cause for the decline in consumption. Many young adults associate their childhood fish dinners with duty, over-boiled cod and watery vegetables. This does not mean that seafood has become significantly more expensive in recent years. Norwegians do not want to pay a premium for an item they think is boring, difficult and time consuming to prepare.

Increased consumption requires cooperation

Since many actually want to eat more seafood, it is completely viable to increase the consumption. However, it requires joint efforts in all aspects of the seafood industry, the grocery industry and by the health authorities.

– The measures include campaigns, marketing and product development, Marketing Manager and Responsible for Public Relations in the Norwegian Seafood Council, Kristin Pettersen explains.

– For example, the campaigns should make young people think of fish as something they eat because they enjoy the taste, which is also easy to make. In addition, seafood should be included as part of modern dishes such as taco and wraps, she continues.

However, it means that the easily prepared products must exist and that they must be both available and visible in the store.

The negative trend has stopped

The latest figures for 2018 (including week 32), indicate that we may already be facing a positive change. The figures show that the total sales volume for seafood is unchanged compared to the same period last year. It is uncertain if the trend continues, but in that is the case it may be connected to the fact that the industry has already begun to implement measures.

The range of fish burgers, ready cut fish, pre-prepared dishes and «pick & mix» variants of frozen shellfish have increased. For example, sales of fish burgers have increased by 12 per cent so far this year – compared to the same period last year – and sales of frozen shellfish in bulk have increased by 133 per cent compared to the same period in 2016.

The complete report (only available in Norwegian for now) is available to download as a pdf, here.

An accompanying video is published on Vimeo.

Some easy to prepare recipes are found here.

Many grocery chains are currently running campaigns, including Coop Extra.

Pasta pesto with shrimp and mushrooms

Time to prepare: 20-40 minutes, very simple, a recipe for two


  • 200 g pasta, fresh (Green Tagliatelle or whatever you prefer)
  • 5 medium mushrooms (Chamingnon, Aroma)
  • 100 g shrimp, peeled (fresh, thawed or drained from a container)
  • 2 soup spoons of pesto
  • Parmesan or similar (shredded, to taste)
  • Salt, ground black Pepper (to taste)


Clean the shrimps if you have bought fresh on the shells (or thawed). Cook the pasta at the same time, according to instructions.

Cut the mushrooms in small pieces and fry in a frying pan. Mix the pesto and shrimp into the pasta, stir fry for a few minutes, top with mushrooms before serving.

For extra taste, you can top it all with a pinch of shredded parmesan or similar cheese & fresh ground black pepper.


Frozen shrimp is fastest to thaw in cold water.

Shrimp pasta

Shrimp pasta with pesto and mushrooms. Photo: Mats Fiskum / 3 every week.

© Norwegian Seafood Council / #Norway Today