Why Alaska’s Seafood Industry is Speaking Up for “Ugly” Crabs
Two Alaskan seafood groups are working to promote the idea that, much like “ugly” vegetables, there’s nothing wrong with eating a crab that doesn’t look perfect.
Alaska’s seafood industry has a message for all those crab lovers out there: Just because they’re ugly doesn’t mean they’re not tasty.
The Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers trade group is making the case for eating menacing-looking crustaceans in a new campaign that it’s launching with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI). The groups went out of their way to promote ugly crabs during a campaign at Boston’s Seafood Expo last week.
“It’s the initial step in a campaign to raise awareness among retailers, restaurants and consumers,” explained ASMI Communications Director Jeremy Woodrow in comments to the Anchorage Daily News. “We’re saying ‘go ahead, tell your customers to get ugly. After all, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.’”
The reason they feel like they need to make that case comes down to market value. Despite less-attractive crabs generally being as tasty and as safe, they tend to have lower market values than their more attractive crab cousins. And that’s something the groups hope to fix with the campaign, called “Get Ugly.”
Speaking to SeafoodSource, ASMI Seafood Technical Program Director Michael Kohan said the campaign came up after crabbers noted that they were having trouble getting good prices for bairdi, opilio, and king crab due to spotting on the shells. The groups are focusing their campaign efforts on food service and retailers.
“Bairdi was brought to our attention, but it does happen with all species across Alaska,” Kohan told the news outlet. “The industry wants recognition that they are stewards of the industry. We are able to have our observers on board, and have the most factual numbers for harvest that provide good management decisions.”
The campaign, added ASMI Domestic Marketing Manager Victoria Parr, was inspired by similar campaigns from vegetable producers that tried to sell “ugly” vegetables.
“Consumers are sophisticated today. We see that in campaigns that are reducing waste like ugly produce,” Parr told SeafoodSource. “The same message resonates with eating ugly crab.”
(paylessimages/iStock/Getty Images Plus)