The health benefits of seafood are pretty widely established, but finding good seafood can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you live in a landlocked state.
Now, if you have the ability to buy seafood directly from the people that catch it or from stores that specialize in fresh-caught fish – buying online might not offer much of an advantage. However, many of us have very limited options about where we can purchase seafood from.
Even though it might seem pretty counter-intuitive, the simple answer is to buy seafood online – and here are six good reasons why you should.
#1 – Convenience
Without a doubt, buying anything online is convenient.
You get to avoid many of the time-consuming aspects of shopping for food – including finding a parking spot, finding the product in the store, traveling both there and back in traffic and hoping the store actually has what you want in stock.
Convenience is probably the one benefit of buying anything online that everyone will recognize, but it’s also easy to feel a bit guilty about it.
After all, people often associate convenience with laziness and end up feeling that they *should* actually go to the store and make the purchase themselves.
At the same time, it’s easy to feel that the quality isn’t going to be as good because buying online is so easy.
But, that’s simply not true.
The convenience of deciding to buy seafood online really is a major advantage and it certainly isn’t something you should feel guilty about.
#2 – The Seafood is Fresher
The problem with buying seafood from physical stores is that there are normally multiple groups involved.
This means that the fish changes hands multiple times, and often is only partially chilled during these periods.
With any fresh food, the more links in the chain that goes from the supplier to the consumer, the less fresh the product will be when it reaches the consumer.
This is particularly true when grocery stores are involved because these stores deal in large quantities and are not known for taking particularly good care of their products.
This is a significant problem for fresh food like fish, which is sensitive and is at significant risk for contamination. You can find more discussion about contamination in fish on the site WH Foods.
The length of the supply chain involved in fish from grocery stores and other physical stores can also increase the chance that the fish will become infected by bacteria.
This process also increases the time that it takes for the fish to get to the consumer, which is far from ideal.
In many cases, the fish may be shipped across the country from a distribution facility, meaning that the fish that is eventually sold in stores may be days old.
When you are looking for a healthy seafood option, you want fish that is as fresh as possible, and you certainly don’t want fish that has not been stored properly.
The thing is, storing fish on ice is not a particularly effective way of keeping it cool, especially if it is stored like this for extended periods of time.
Of course, there are some exceptions to these general rules when it comes to upscale supermarkets or grocery stores that focus on providing high-quality products. Even so, it takes considerable shopping around to find a place that does promote quality and even then your options would probably be limited.
In contrast, when you buy seafood online, the approach that companies take is often very different. Most online stores that sell seafood freeze the fish almost as soon as it is off the boat.
This ensures that all of the freshness of the fish is locked away. It also reduces the chance of any infection occurring and means that it there is much less likelihood of any damage occurring to the fish.
#3 – It Is Often Healthier
Fish bought online is often better for your health and better quality than the fish you find at grocery stores and similar locations.
Typically, online seafood companies place great emphasis on the quality of their products.
Because of this, they take extra care to make sure that they are selling high-quality products and to minimize any deterioration in quality.
At the same time, when you buy seafood online, the company has much greater control over the quality of their food.
In contrast, if you buy seafood from a grocery store, they are entirely dependent on the quality of the product when they receive it. They have no real way of making sure that they are providing the best quality possible, and little incentive for doing so.
At the same time, with fish from grocery stores, you run the risk of fish fraud.
This is much more common than people realize and involves fish being represented as something else. Sometimes that might involve one type of fish being called something else (for example, red snapper is rarely ever actually red snapper) (1). Other times, it can involve farmed fish being called wild-caught (2). For example, Dr. Mercola talks about how frequently tuna is mislabeled.
The decision to buy seafood online doesn’t guarantee that you are going to get what you pay for.
However, because you are dealing with companies that emphasize quality, there is a much greater chance that you will get what you pay for and what you are supposed to be getting.
#4 – It Isn’t That Bad For the Environment
There is this implication that buying anything online is going to be horrible for the environment.
After all, you are getting something shipped directly to you in its own little box (that probably isn’t recyclable).
The exact impact on the environment is going to depend on exactly what you are buying and where you are buying it from, but typically it isn’t as bad as you might think.
For one thing, your seafood isn’t going through multiple different groups of people and stores. Instead, you may be getting the seafood directly from the people who catch it, or from a one company that buys from them.
This short supply chain means less transportation, which can reduce the impacts on the environment.
At the same time, many companies that offer seafood online also have a strong focus on the environment.
For example, companies may choose to use sustainable packaging and to offset their carbon costs.
#5 – Variety
The seafood selections at grocery stores are typically very limited – and you never know exactly what they are going to have until you actually get there.
That can be very frustrating, especially if you made a special trip for something that doesn’t end up being there.
Online seafood stores typically offer much more variety and they tend to be very upfront about what is in stock and what isn’t.
You also have the ability to shop around multiple different sites to find ones that are selling what you want. At the same time, you can also contact the company directly to find out how their stock of fish is going to change.
That’s something you can’t do often at a grocery store – because most of the time you end up interacting with staff members that don’t know much about what they are selling or what they are going to have in the store in the next few days.
Additionally, it can often be easier to find specific types of fish at an online store.
That’s especially true if you are interested in wild caught fish, like wild salmon. In fact, some online stores specialize in wild caught fish and may not even offer any farmed fish.
#6 – You Know What You Are Getting
Buying seafood at a grocery store can be a challenge if you don’t know much about seafood.
For one thing, there is often pressure to order quickly, rather than making people wait around.
At the same time, the people serving you don’t necessarily have an in-depth knowledge of seafood.
In contrast, buying online lets you take your time with your decisions.
Sites that let you buy seafood online also tend to provide considerable information about their products and what you can expect from them. Many sites will offer up recipes as well as information about how the fish tastes.
This can be particularly fantastic for people who haven’t tried many types of fish.
Additionally, you also have the option of taking that information and finding out more by searching online. That isn’t really a viable option when you buy seafood from the grocery store.