Economic and political events in the United States around the world continue to define the food aid market. Shelf stable products that can get to food aid recipients and safety net programs efficiently under the toughest of circumstances are essential components of the food aid basket. The demand for nutrient-dense, high-quality foods has been steadily increasing in the food aid community – both here and abroad.
Seafood, especially oily fish like Alaska salmon and herring, is the best source of health-promoting essential fats and high-quality marine protein for people of all ages. Economic constraints remind us that we need to explore new resources, and continue to seek and test alternate products that can be added to the current set of Alaska Seafood products at an affordable price point. New products with global commercial appeal made from sustainable yet underutilized species, byproducts and recovered marine nutrients also boost Alaska’s fishing industry in the food aid arena. Alaska is poised to help meet the steady increase in demand for sustainable protein sources through its responsibly managed fisheries and seafood products. We are working with new options like Alaska canned herring and seafood powder to guarantee a food aid basket that is made to last.
Reducing hunger requires an integrated approach: public and private investments to raise agricultural productivity; better access to inputs, land, services, technologies and markets; measures to promote rural development; social protection for the most vulnerable, including strengthening their resilience to conflicts and natural disasters; and specific nutrition programs, particularly to address micronutrient deficiencies in mothers and children under five. (FAO 2014)
Nutrient rich Alaska Seafood products help mitigate hunger and address malnutrition in the U.S. and around the world through the ASMI Alaska Global Food Aid Program. Alaska canned salmon and Alaska pollock are part of food baskets and meals in both domestic and international food assistance programs for mothers and children, distributed in health centers, schools, preschools, and orphanages, and for whole families through food banks and pantries, in lean times and when disasters strike. See more about Alaska Seafood’s Super Nutrition (PDF).
“The Dietary Guidelines Committee determined that seafood delivers the most vitamin B12 and vitamin D, and almost all of the polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the recommended healthy eating patterns, yet average intakes of seafood are barely a third to a half of the recommended 2-3 servings a week for every age and gender group in America.”
(Source: the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, January 2016)
Scientists and policymakers agree that all Americans should eat more seafood like Alaska salmon which is safe for pregnant women (FDA 2015). The balance of its nutrients and essential fats promote optimal growth and development in pregnancy and are protective against the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity throughout life and may prevent cognitive losses in later years. The Alaska Global Food Aid Program’s nutritionists work with the scientific community to promote the wide adoption of evidence-based seafood consumption guidelines in all federally funded food and nutrition programs. For example, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (January 2016) recommends adults consume 2-3 servings of fish per week, yet currently only 1 in 10 Americans follows the guidelines to eat seafood at least twice a week.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) together urge pregnant and breastfeeding women and children to eat more seafood – 8 to 12 ounces weekly of a variety of fish each week lower in mercury like Alaska salmon and pollock. The nutritional properties of fish are critical during growth and development before birth, in early infancy for breastfed infants, and in childhood. (FDA.gov 2014)