A new report from the United States shows that the corona crisis has affected Americans’ eating habits. There is now greater attention to food and health and an increased willingness to pay for healthy and proper nutrition. This is good news for Norwegian seafood.
The United States has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the country’s economy is now 10.6 percent smaller than it was at the same time in 2019. The decline in Gross Domestic Product is primarily due to lower total consumption. It has altered the consumption and eating habits of the country.
“In the low-paid part of the population, consumption has actually increased because many in that group have received public support due to the pandemic, and thus have increased their real purchasing power. In the high-paid part of the population, consumption has declined, and overall this has resulted in a decline at the national level”, says the Norwegian Seafood Council’s fisheries envoy to the USA, Anne-Kristine Øen.
Increased fish sales in the shops
She is very excited about what the last months of the year will bring. The public subsidy to the low-paid groups is expected to gradually decline or disappear altogether.
“Consumption of food has been on the rise. Purchases of fish in the grocery trade have risen by as much as 9 per cent during the corona period. This is closely related to the fact that “food service” has been in sharp decline, and for a couple of months was almost unpredictable. Then people have to cook at home in the households”, says Øen.
Restaurants, canteens, bars and casinos were closed overnight, and many had to close their doors for good. ABC News reported at the end of July that of the 26,000 restaurants that have had to close their doors during this period, 16,000 have closed for good.
The renowned research agency Hartman recently published a report that points out that Americans’ consumption and eating habits have changed sharply in the spring of 2020 compared to the spring of 2019.
Before the pandemic, as many as three out of four meals took place in restaurants, canteens and other restaurants. In the spring of 2020, as much as 88% of all meals are eaten at home. This means that you eat more often with the family, and that you make a little more demanding dishes. This is good news for seafood, which many have had a little threshold to venture on”, explains Anne-Kristine Øen.
The report shows that Americans make less frequent purchases, so they buy more frozen and other things that can be stored for a long time. This is good news for the fish, as it increases the understanding that frozen fish is also of very high quality.
Increased willingness to pay
“There is increased attention to health aspects related to food, and there is a willingness to pay for healthy and proper food. There is also an increasing focus on sustainability and animal welfare, and here too Norway has a good story to tell both when it comes to farming and management of wild fish”, says Anne-Kristine Øen.
She emphasizes that it is difficult to say to what extent the above effects will persist after the pandemic is over, but experts now assume that this picture will be fairly unchanged at least for the next 18-24 months.
Norwegian Seafood Council / #Norway Today