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Uncertainty or DIY gourmet? Seafood consumption behavior during the crisis


Needless to say, consumer behavior across countries has changed during the Covid-19 pandemic. With restaurants closed down people have been forced to make different food choices than before the crisis – The food retail trade across European countries has increased and adapted to the new situation on a short notice and grocery e-commerce has boomed in most countries.


The changed consumer behavior speeds up the blurring of traditional sales channels, that has been ongoing the past years, and new opportunities arise. Interestingly, consumers have much different preferences after the Covid-19 time. In a recent study, carried out by McKinsey and Company*, the difference between the UK and Germany stands out: where 28% of the UK consumers state, that they expect to conduct more online shopping for groceries after the Covid-19 crisis, only 13% of the Germans have the same expectation. Instead, 24% of the Germans expect to decrease their online shopping for groceries after the crisis. Despite the fact, that some consumers long back to their physical shopping, online and other in-between channels are expected to continuously gain more ground with consumers in the longer run.

Increase in Seafood

The seafood sector has also seen significant changes in consumption patterns and preferences with two somewhat conflicting, defining factors driving the recent change; will consumers be uncertain or look for comforting and indulgent food?


In the early days of lock-down the purchase drivers were to a large extent ‘panic buying’, where items such as toilet paper, baking mixes, and canned food were ripped off the shelves. These somewhat irrational buying behaviors were driven by uncertainty about the sudden and unusual situation. Seafood-wise the sale of frozen and ambient seafood increased – the daily meal was secured at a reasonable price – also if shopping became impossible.

In these times of re-opening the uncertainty is still a factor in both retail and professional segments – how will buying behavior develop as societies re-open? Will consumers be dining out? And to what extent?

DIY gourmet

During the lock-down, some consumers have longed for restaurant quality food – but not for going out. However, with more time available and less activities to spend money on, more people have ventured into spending more time in the kitchen – and have bought “restaurant quality” food items, thus driving demand for a.o. high quality seafood products – for DIY gourmet experiences. In many countries, wholesalers have, to some extent, opened their doors to the general public, and the consumers have come to familiarize themselves with new items.

Will consumers continue to indulge in delicious prawns or learn to prepare a lobster at home? Right now, as re-opening is ongoing, it seems that some consumers are clinging on to their newfound availability of “restaurant” items and demand that quality for the future.

Catering to our customers

At Royal Greenland we strive to offer relevant items for all channels. For the uncertain times ahead and for new sales channels we continuously develop new items fit for our customer’s needs, i.e. the well-known, high quality products in more convenient or smaller packaging for restaurants that fear a slow start-up period. 

For the gourmet and premium segments new items include single-packed, ready-cooked, Canadian lobster in an exclusive box or a kit of Greenlandic snow-crab legs for a special meal – items that are out of the ordinary, but at a manageable price-point.

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*McKinsey survey: German consumer sentiment during the coronavirus-crisis, 2020

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