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The health crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic led to the shutdown of restaurants and nonessential businesses throughout the United States. With the majority (68%) of seafood products purchased at food service establishments, this has resulted in an unparalleled shock to U.S. fisheries and aquaculture producers (NOAA 2018). Furthermore, the USDA Census of Aquaculture reported that for shellfish farms only 4% of their first point of sales were direct to consumers (USDA 2019). As farms and businesses attempt to respond to the loss of revenue from traditional marketing channels and establish direct to consumer channels, a key question concerned the extent of changes in consumer demand and preferences for seafood products. Thus, the goal of this project was to gather market information on changes in how, when, and where consumers purchase seafood in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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February 20, 2023