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Complaints About Shrimpy Shrimp Prompt Red Lobster to Think Big

Red Lobster executives have a message for seafood lovers: They know you think their shrimp are skimpy, and they're doing something about it.

The seafood chain is pumping up the size of its shrimp in nearly 70 percent of lunch and dinner entrees containing the ingredient. It's a nod to customers' requests after combing through responses from more than 10,000 customers.

Consumer feedback ranged from "it's just time for a change" to "the size of your shrimp in the scampi is so small, it is almost a tease."

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"Our guests shared they wanted Shrimp Scampi and Shrimp Skewers to be bigger, so we increased the size," Salli Setta, president of Red Lobster, said in a statement. "And, they wanted them to be better, so we changed our preparation to improve taste and give the shrimp a better bite."

Just how big are the shrimp going to be? The crustaceans in its shrimp scampi and skewers dishes will now be at between 47 percent and 86 percent larger than before. Some other popular entrees will also include the larger shrimp, which are currently rolling out in restaurants.

In addition, employees will make both the shrimp cocktail and scampi dishes in-house. The shrimp scampi will also be cooked with a new skewering method.

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As the biggest seafood restaurant by sales in the U.S., Red Lobster is a substantial buyer of shrimp — to the tune of 33 million pounds in the past year, the vast majority of which goes to domestic locations.

The National Fisheries Institute recently pegged shrimp consumption in the U.S. at 4 pounds per person or roughly 1.28 billion pounds last year, meaning Red Lobster's shrimp purchases are the equivalent of about 2.5 percent of total domestic shrimp consumption.

Red Lobster says it will not change its sourcing to implement the menu changes.