« June 2009 Table of Contents
Editor's Note: Assume nothing
By Fiona Robinson, Editor in Chief
June 01, 2009
Ever since the economy began to nosedive last fall and
restaurants all over the country started closing their doors,
retail experts have assumed that a lot of money consumers saved
by not eating out as much would be spent at retail instead. Not
As this played out over the past six months, every retailer
I spoke with also mentioned lean times, give or take a few
independent retailers that are bucking the trend. So I asked
John Snyder to look into this assumption that retail seafood
was benefiting from the sluggish economy. Snyder, a freelance
writer and seafood industry veteran, found that's not exactly
the case (see Top Story, p. 16).
Seafood is the most expensive of the four main protein
categories and is still considered a luxury item by most
consumers - a luxury they can skip in lean times. Combine the
waning enthusiasm for seafood with higher prices for some
species like Chilean farmed salmon, and supermarkets have their
work cut out for them.
Aside from the supposed retail windfall, another assumption
is that consumers will know how to cook seafood once they get
it home. Wrong. The popularity of prepared items at the seafood
counter is evidence that consumers still need help cooking the
protein. Contributing Editor Christine Blank interviewed
several independent retailers for this issue's What's in Store
column and found they are seeing a surge in demand for
ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat seafood items.
One part of the country that probably bucks the
cooking-seafood-at-home trend is Alaska, which celebrates its
50th anniversary of statehood this year. Readers will find a
special section in this issue (Alaska's Golden Anniversary, p.
21) devoted to Alaska's seafood processors. Alaskans endure
extreme harvesting and processing conditions, huge
transportation costs and unbearable weather to get seafood on
dinner plates worldwide and they deserve the utmost respect.
Despite being one of the country's youngest states, you'll find
as you peruse the pages in this special section that Alaska's
seafood industry has a rich history worth celebrating.