UK - This year, seafood will be speaking the language of love as restaurants, fishmongers and supermarkets get ready for a boom in the run up to Valentine's Day, with luxury species the most sought after ingredient on the menu.
Sales of the ocean's finest, and some would say most sensual, foods see a spike at this time of year as couples across the country look for opulent dishes that have the wow factor.
A survey carried out by Seafish, the industry authority on seafood, found that over one-third (35 per cent) of British consumers would consider serving up tasty fish dishes as part of a romantic meal.
Data collected saw an increase in oyster sales by 325 per cent last year, with total consumption of seafood in excess of 3,000 tonnes in the week's leading up to Valentine's.
Containing essential minerals like phosphorus, zinc, iodine, copper, iron and selenium and famed for being an aphrodisiac, it is perhaps no surprise that three in 10 people (30 per cent) said oysters are a romantic choice for that special someone on the most romantic day of the year.
Oysters are hot on the heels of this year's most popular delicacy, the lobster, with 39 per cent of people selecting it as a romantic Valentine's Day meal. Low in fat but high in protein, these beauties saw a 145 per cent spike in sales last year. Elegant scallops (30 per cent) and sweet crab (19 per cent) also feature, with sales of these fruits de mer up by 97 per cent and 64 per cent respectively.
The findings of this research support the growing trend for dining in as couples across the country still feel the pinch after a long winter.
Any budding romantic out there looking to recreate the restaurant experience at home can choose from the plentiful selection of seafood on offer as it is around this time of year that people are most likely to experiment with the category, as over one in ten (11 per cent) appear to be adventurous eaters, saying they've bought and eaten different types of seafood in the last six months.
Registered dietician and nutritionist Juliette Kellow, said: "It's great to hear that seafood is considered a romantic food and I do hope it will be enjoyed in abundance this Valentine's Day. Research from Seafish shows that amateur chefs are keen to experiment with different types of seafood as oysters, scallops, and lobster are considered to be the most romantic dishes. This said, it seems that sardines and trout will be left playing second fiddle for the time being as people see them as a less romantic option."
Despite the surge in popularity of seafood at this time of year, over 74 per cent of consumers admitted that they eat seafood less than twice a week, which is lower than the recommended two portions of seafood a week.
Packed with bags of omega-3, seafood has been found to encourage a healthy heart through helping to maintain normal blood pressure and blood levels of triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood), so we can carry on loving for years to come. Many of the vitamins and minerals in fish also keeps us looking our best for when it matters by promoting healthy bones, skin, teeth and hair.
Ms Kellow continues: "It's rather alarming that so many people are still not eating enough seafood on a regular basis. The benefits are innumerable and vital for promoting good health. We hope that the Valentine's demand can address this issue and introduce more and more people to the wonderful - and delicious - world of seafood."
For those still looking for inspiration for that perfect Valentine's Day dish, Fish is the Dish, by Seafish, has a wealth of recipes on offer from bothy oysters to lobster salad and exotic Thai scallops.
More information can be found online at http://www.fishisthedish.co.uk/
TheFishSite News Desk