ORLANDO, Fla. -- Even before the U.S. government gave seafood an official nod in the new food pyramid, seafood consumption was showing signs of growth, according to a new consumer survey.
than half of U.S. adults who've ever eaten seafood said they're eating more seafood today than they were five years ago.
Furthermore, about two in five seafood eaters, or 41%, said they eat seafood because recent studies suggest it's healthy for the heart, the survey showed. More than three in four adults, or 77%, said they eat seafood at least once a month, while just one in 10 said they never eat seafood, according to the survey.
The two most popular types of seafood consumed in the United States are shrimp (61%) and canned tuna (57%), followed by salmon (39%), crab (23%), catfish (22%), fresh tuna (22%), cod (17%) and mollusks, such as mussels, clams and oysters (16%). Other types of seafood consumed frequently include lobster (11%), halibut (10%), haddock (9%), rainbow trout (9%), tilapia (9%), snapper (8%) and grouper (4%).
About two-thirds of U.S. adult seafood eaters (67%) said they eat seafood because it's a welcome alternative to chicken and meat. In addition, 68% said they buy salmon, shrimp and sushi at their local supermarket.
The telephone survey of more than 1,000 adults was conducted March 17-20 by Harris Interactive, a Rochester, N.Y.-based research company.
Seafood got an official endorsement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA's updated food pyramid points out fish contains healthy oils, so it's a good alternative to meat or poultry. The 2005 Federal Dietary Guidelines, which were the basis of the new pyramid, for the first time recommend eating fish. The guidelines noted its health benefits, including the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, trout, herring and other oily species.