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A project by Locals Seafood in partnership with North Carolina Sea Grant at NC State University and NC Catch.

More and more, Americans of all ages want the convenience of easy-to-prepare meals. According to data provider Food Genius, nearly 80% of Americans do not know what they want for dinner by 4pm that same day. Many people do not have the time or desire to cook at home – this is where easy prep, transportable meals come in. We’re not talking about fast food, though. Americans are looking for fresh, healthy, protein-rich meals with bold flavors. We’re teaming up with NC Sea Grant at NC State University and NC Catch to learn what easy-to-prepare seafood meals look like to our retail customers.

Why we want to hear from you

We are constantly asking ourselves how more North Carolinians can enjoy local seafood. During our time visiting coastal fish houses, we have witnessed much of the seafood harvested from our waters being shipped out of state at very cheap prices. As a result, NC fishermen may struggle financially. Much of this seafood is lesser-known species like Amberjack, Bluefish, Cape Shark, Mullet, and Sheepshead. The only reason the in-state demand for these fish is low is because folks are unaware of their outstanding flavor.

Our goal is to better understand how our customers might respond to easy-prep meals featuring locally caught, lesser-known seafood species. Some of the questions on our minds are: Would a certain kind of product increase a person’s willingness to buy amberjack or cape shark? Do people prefer to cook with meal kits or do they want the convenience of ready-to-eat meals (no cooking needed to eat)? Do people want to just heat and serve prepared meals or would they prefer to do some cooking with, for example, fresh marinated fillets? What influence do price, health and local sourcing play in purchasing decisions?

By sharing your thoughts with us, you are helping to build a stronger seafood industry in our state.