However, a breakdown of the figures reveals a sharp drop in fried seafood sales and a modest rise in grilled, broiled, baked and raw products as consumers looked for products made with more healthy cooking methods.
“While servings of fried seafood experienced the steepest declines, [NPD’s] CREST [foodservice tracking service] finds that demand for non-fried fish that is grilled, broiled, baked or raw posted growth in this latest year and prior to the recession.
“Servings of total non-fried fish increased by 1 percent for year ending March 2011, salmon servings grew by 1 percent and sushi by 4 percent.”
NPD restaurant industry analyst Bonnie Riggs said: “The growth in non-fried seafood servings suggests consumers are making health-conscious decisions in their seafood selections.
“With the attention healthful eating is being given by public and private sector initiatives, restaurant operators may see this as a good opportunity to assess their seafood menu offerings in order to meet their consumers’ interests and needs.”