Fisheries group wants broader audience to 'get real'

ARLINGTON, VA: Seafood industry group the National Fisheries Institute is planning to expand the outreach of its "Get Real about Seafood" campaign.

ARLINGTON, VA: Seafood industry group the National Fisheries Institute is planning to expand the outreach of its “Get Real about Seafood” campaign.

The effort's goal is to increase the amount of seafood consumed by Americans, citing its health benefits. The initiative is targeting physicians and women, who tend to be the healthcare decision-makers in American households. The group is working with Chandler Chicco Companies on the initiative.

The trade group, whose members include Wal-Mart, grocery chain Harris Teeter, and Yum! Brands' Long John Silver restaurants, wants to expand outreach to medical influencers to include support staffers such as nurses. It hopes they will share the importance of seafood in diets with both consumers and doctors, said Mary Anne Hansan, VP of the institute. She hopes the campaign will expand next year.

“People understand that seafood is important and healthy, but our research shows consumers think they are eating sufficient amounts and that's not the case,” Hansan said. “We're looking to motivate behavior change.”

The institute wanted to promote the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released by the US Agriculture Department last year. The document recommended that consumers eat two to three seafood meals per week. Studies have shown that eating this amount can reduce the risk of a fatal heart attack by 30% to 40%.  

The National Fisheries Institute found that consumers only eat about half of that amount due to misinformation about health benefits and lack of confidence in selecting or preparing seafood. The belief that seafood is expensive is also a factor.

For these reasons, the organization hired Melissa d'Arabian, the host of Food Network's Ten Dollar Dinners, to promote the campaign. She and cardiovascular specialist William Castelli attended a kickoff media event last month in New York.

“She is a good fit not only because of her approach to cooking, but she is also helpful in telling people how they can make delicious family meals affordable,” said Sherri Jaffe at Chandler Chicco.

The scope of the firm's work has included a satellite media tour, a website, and social media outreach via YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. The trade group has also spent the summer attending various medical conferences.

Jaffe feels this campaign stands out from other health initiatives involving food. Usually with these efforts “it's a lot of don't to this, or don't eat that,” she said. “Our campaign is actionable because it tells you what you should do.”

Hansan said the budget for the campaign was “substantial” but declined to comment further.

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