Consumption and origin of tilapia in the United States
Tilapia has become one of the fastest growing dishes in U.S. households. As a nutritious product, it can be part of a healthy and balanced diet, as it contains a good amount of protein and low-fat content.
Tilapia has become one of the fastest growing dishes in U.S. households. As a nutritious product, it can be part of a healthy and balanced diet, as it contains a good amount of protein and low-fat content. The main species consumed are Mozambique and Nile, but in general, tilapia of the genus Oreochromisson have characteristics that make them more suitable for commercial farming. As high-quality tilapia products began to appear, their recognition as a quality seafood product has increased in the United States.
Before 1986, practically all U.S. demand for tilapia products was supplied by domestic production. Most of this demand was for live fish from eastern restaurants and grocery stores. Small farms in the west and south supplied the eastern communities of the west coast and southern urban centers. The fish were transported live to the markets by the producers. Around 1986, imports of frozen whole tilapia from Taiwan began to appear on the west coast. These products were distributed mainly through eastern markets.
Tilapia is the seafood product with the highest growth in consumption and recognition in the U.S. market in recent years. From an almost unknown product in the mid-nineties, in 2002 it entered the list of the ten most consumed seafood products in this country “top ten seafood products”. In 2003 it was ranked eighth, with a consumption of 0.5 kg per capita, equivalent to 72.5 tons per year, currently per capita consumption is around 1.5 kg. Tilapia is also the second fastest growing food product on menus in North American restaurants and number 15 in the fastest growing food products in consumption in this country.
The U.S. tilapia market is dominated by imports and only 5% of tilapia is produced domestically. Most of the tilapia production in the United States is in recirculating systems located partly in the arid west and northeast, which implies lower risks in terms of ecosystem services, but the southern states account for 75% of the total production.
Taiwan continues to be the largest single exporter to the United States, supplying more than 50% of all tilapia products. Mainland China, Thailand, and Indonesia are also major exporters. Many tilapia producers have begun processing in their home countries, exporting fillets. So far, most fillets from Asia have been supplied frozen, while products from Costa Rica, Jamaica, Colombia are exported fresh.
The demand for tilapia has grown as Oriental and other ethnic consumer groups have increased in number and income level. Awareness of tilapia by the general public gradually increased as small farms were started in the United States and international travelers sampled tilapia dishes in other countries. Today, tilapia distribution has expanded to include seafood stores and the seafood counters of some grocery stores such as large supermarket chains.
Demand for tilapia has grown based on high quality, variety in presentations, better marketing, tightly controlled imports, changes in consumer diets towards healthier products, and growing consumer recognition of an appetizing, moderately priced product with high nutritional content. Local production is small and 85% is directed to the live tilapia market, especially for oriental restaurants. Only 15% is processed into fillets. It is therefore important to support U.S. tilapia producers in order to continue supplying consumers with a quality product.
- https://boletines.exportemos.pe/recursos/boletin/27798.PDF Boletín exportemos Péru
- https://ag.arizona.edu/azaqua/tilapia/Thailand/paper.htm Universidad de Arizona