Does Seafood Have A Reputation Problem?

Sounds fishy to me. That's quite a fish tale. A cold fish. A fish out of water.

Words matter. They sink into our subconscious and have power over us that we may not realize. Fish often gets a bad rap when it comes to common American idioms.

Then there's the smell. The fish factor gets applied to all seafood when it comes to the odor, which is generally disliked. I love seafood and even I dislike the smell sometimes.

In many work settings where people eat at their desks in relatively small spaces, seafood is strictly forbidden. I made the mistake of eating fish in my workspace one day and was read the riot act. Never again! I know to consume my fish at home. I've heard people rip others to shreds behind their backs for "stinking up the room" with their seafood. The stress of it all!

Seafood has a lot to overcome. Besides the bad connotations and the smell, there are the cautions about mercury, fears about farmed seafood as opposed to wild caught, then whether it is sustainable or not. The BP gulf oil spill didn't help either. What's a person to do?

Well, if your health is important to you, you may want to cast aside those fears and negative perceptions and start eating more seafood.

I couldn't write this post if I didn't believe this to be absolutely true. I gave up meat over 20 years ago and my protein mainly comes from eggs, some dairy, poultry and seafood. Overall, I believe the health benefits of seafood are too great to give up.

Eating is probably on my mind more than the average person, so I do a fair amount of planning. About a month ago, while at the check-out at the grocery store, the person ringing my order up commented about how I bought so much healthy food. Then he started talking about my purchases one by one, commenting about the fruit and sardines specifically. I love sardines!

Because I have been following the mercury cautions quite carefully over the years, I reduced the amount of tuna that I eat and increased the amount of sardines. From what I understand, sardines being smaller fish and lower on the food chain have less of a chance of absorbing mercury.

After attending the Keynote at the Seafood Expo called Reputation Management Beyond the Obvious, I could see the connection.

The speech was given by Daniel Diermeier, PhD, Kellogg School of Management. He was interesting, informative and funny. It was a shame that there were not more people there, because his presentation was excellent. He spoke about crisis management and how companies deal with it.

With the rise of social media, Diermeier stated that company leadership must deal with the issue immediately, but then said that most companies have the wrong focus when they respond. I won't go into details because it would take too long and would go too off topic, but I was fascinated.

My takeaway from his speech was that the seafood industry has had a reputation problem for the last several years and the way to turn it around would be to team up with third parties who have credibility with the audience who purchases seafood.

This makes sense. I've seen that some in the seafood industry have already started doing that. Several bloggers, sadly not including me, were taken on a trip to New Orleans last year by the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition. Also, they appear to be continuing to build ties with seafood bloggers.

Food bloggers are people buying and eating seafood, plus each food blogger's audience is comprised of more people potentially buying and eating seafood. Sounds like the seafood industry is taking and sharing some wise advice.

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Disclosure: I received press credentials for complimentary admission to SENA.

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