A Forecast in Shrimp: The Future of Fresh and Frozen
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and intensified a number of trends in food, with big waves for the world of shrimp. Here is some of what we have seen.
- Sourcing and Storage: There has been greater demand for fresh, locally-produced food. Alongside that, there has been an increase in sales of frozen food and domestic freezers which have helped secure food supplies during lockdowns.
- Creativity and Confidence: Inspired by the food lifestyle industry, consumers are turning more often to seafood like shrimp. Armed with the confidence to try new foods and recipes, they want to eat healthy, cook more at home, and enjoy a more varied diet.
- E-commerce: Both for fresh and frozen seafood products, e-commerce platforms are increasingly popular. Analysis company, Edge By Ascential, has noted that in 2021, e-commerce accounts for about 31% of chain grocery sales globally, twice as much as in 2015. The grocery trade will not be completely moved to online solutions, but generally the pandemic has driven e-commerce two years ahead of previous growth forecasts.
Put together, we have fresh, local, and frozen in bulk. Innovative, varied, yet mindful and healthy. And everything available with the swipe of an app. Given such diversity, what will the future of shrimp be – fresh or frozen?
Let’s start with the question of substance – food that is healthy, authentic, and safe. At first glance, fresh, as in, ‘farm straight to table’ would seem to encapsulate that ideal. Yet with greater awareness of health and food safety, knowing consumers and chefs are often attracted to frozen food items, which often preserve their nutrients and avoid spoilage better. Continuing a growth trend of more than five years, in 2021 there was a significant rise in demand for frozen seafood sales in the U.S.: according to Anne-Marie Roerink at 210 Analytics, frozen raw shrimp sales jumped nearly 62%!
Then consider the culture factor. Again initially, fresh would seem to be most exciting. Today’s food media empire depicts a fantasy of freshness as the current zeitgeist and ‘culture of now’. Yet it is actually young millennials who have fueled the growth of frozen foods. This move has been driven not just by the quality of frozen foods, but also by their innovative benefits as a cost-effective and convenient solution. Affordable frozen foods both make for a good, square meal during crunch-time, and allow for more spontaneity and experimentation when we happen to be fiddling around in the kitchen, trying new recipes. The demand for frozen food may level out compared to pandemic highs, but it will continue to enable people in kitchens everywhere to improvise a last-minute shrimp stir-fry, make quick and creative meals, and try new things.
So then, what does the future actually hold? At ECOshrimp, we believe that fresh or frozen is not in fact the deciding factor for consumers. Rather it is the quality of the produce itself, the sustainability of the supply chain, along with the health and flavor that are most important. For shoppers who look to avoid artificial colors and additives, who value ‘real’ ingredients and better nutritional value, this is where seafood shines. As long as it’s pure, high in protein, low in cholesterol and delicious, there is plenty of room on the table for both fresh and frozen.
We at ECOshrimp are the end-to-end solution that makes it happen. Learn more about how we are reinventing commercial shrimp production here.