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NC Sea Grant Research Confirms Interest in Local Seafood
Below is a synopsis of what a recent research study found at at the 2010 NC Seafood Festival.
North Carolina Sea Grant funded a study last fall to learn the value consumers place on local seafood and on the commercial brands each of your organizations are using to distinguish North Carolina seafood from imports. The study was conducted during the 2010 North Carolina Seafood Festival at the "Cooking with the Chefs" event. Susan Andreatta of UNC-Greensboro conducted the study and just recently filed her final report, which is attached. Susan has been a valued partner of Carteret Catch since 2006 when she pioneered the nation's first "Community-Supported Fisheries" (CSF) program in Carteret County. This project has led to the development of over 25 CSFs nationwide since 2008.In summary, the Festival drew attendees from 106 different cities within North Carolina and from Florida, Nevada, New York, Tennessee and even Germany. Within the state, the majority of festival goers reside in counties east of I-95. Consumers do prefer local seafood over imports when given a choice because they 1) value its freshness and quality; 2) wish to support the economies of fishing communities; and 3) consider domestic seafood to be safer than imports. All of these factors mirror national consumer trends based on market research Sea Grant has conducted since 2005.A majority (78.6 percent) said local brands are useful in identifying local seafood and the businesses that offer it. Regarding brand recognition, 71 percent were aware of Carteret Catch, 17.4 percent knew of Brunswick Catch, 11.7 percent and 10 percent had heard of Outer Banks Catch and Ocracoke Fresh, respectively. The higher brand recognition for Carteret Catch can be attributed to its longevity - the program will be five years old in March of this year. Furthermore, a majority (67 percent) said they would participate in direct marketing arrangements, i.e. CSFs, that make local seafood accessible to people living inland.Last, 60 percent of those interviewed were attending "Cooking with the Chefs" for the first time, and 72 percent judged the chefs presentations and the educational literature (chefs' recipes, NC Seafood Availability Chart, "Quality Counts" poster, and assorted "Catch" brochures) very helpful in learning about the seasonality and quality characteristics of local seafood as well as the businesses that offer it.The report concludes that the public is not only interested in experiencing what good seafood prepared well tastes like, the "Catch" brands help consumers identify and select for local products when making their seafood purchasing decisions.Note: Outer Banks Chef Bud Gruninger presented two local recipes that highlighted our locally caught seafood for the "Cooking with the Chefs" program.
Summary by: Barry Nash, North Carolina Sea Grant
Full report available by contacting email@example.com