KENAI (AP) -- Alaskans may argue about the merits of red salmon versus king, or Copper River versus Bristol Bay. But salmon fans beyond Alaska's borders aren't quite so particular.
It is the humble and unassuming canned variety that makes up the bulk of the demand for Alaska salmon, according to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.
''There is a very significant and loyal component of canned salmon consumers, domestically as well as in the U.K. and Australia,'' said Randy Rice, who works with ASMI's seafood technical program. ''There's a lot of product moved in cans.''
How much? According to ASMI, close to 70 percent of the entire Alaska salmon harvest moves in cans. This may seem strange to the weekend angler who fancies a freshly grilled salmon fillet, but it's just fine with ASMI, which recently completed a market survey on the product.
''A lot of people who buy canned salmon, they like canned salmon,'' said ASMI Executive Director Barbara Belknap, who added that the survey also showed a market demographic of people primarily in their mid-40s and up.
''So the market keeps getting replenished by people getting older,'' she said.
The survey also has inspired ASMI to rethink its marketing strategy. Rather than trying to appeal to new customers, Belknap said, the group will be looking to raise demand among its established customer base.
''Over the next few years, we'll be looking to give (customers) new ways to fix (canned salmon) so they'll buy it more,'' she said. ''We'll see if we can get them to buy just one more can.''
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