It’s no secret that consumers spend more money on food around the holidays to serve at parties and gatherings. In fact, they may be willing to spend more on seafood during the holidays than any other time of the year, and some trade up to more premium seafood during the holidays to treat family and friends to something special.
And because consumers are willing to spend more for holiday get-togethers, grocers have to make sure they’re featuring the right mix of products, including a variety of seafood. While it’s important for retailers to know what consumers want, it’s even more important to know what drives them to buy superior seafood.
Here are three strategies grocers can use to boost seafood sales this holiday season.
Promote the quality and origin of seafood
Not all seafood in stores is created equal, so grocers have an opportunity to highlight high quality products from Alaska to consumers who are looking for healthy, natural seafood that is always wild and always sustainable. A few techniques grocers can use to reel in seafood-loving customers include promoting the origin of their catch, displaying eye-catching marketing material and logos, and using terms such as, “wild-caught,” “natural,” and “sustainable.” For example, highlighting the Alaska origin and displaying the Alaska Seafood logo would be a boon for retailers, because consumers associate it with quality. According to a 2018 survey from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) in partnership with Technomic, nearly 40% of consumers say they would pay more for Alaska seafood—71% say they would be willing to pay at least 10% more and 51% say they would pay at least a 5% premium.
Offer ready-to-eat entree items
Numerous trends are influencing food preferences in the seafood department, where premium quality, convenience, bold flavors and customization are key selling and buying words. Offering ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook items prepared with seasonings, marinades or side pairings is a win-win for retailers and customers.
Retailers should also fill their seafood cases with stuffed specialties to inspire shoppers to explore new entree items that are quick and easy to prepare for holiday gatherings. For instance, stores can offer a ready-to-cook stuffed salmon filet, filled with crab meat, which is ready to eat after just a few minutes in the oven. This also is a golden opportunity for grocers to encourage consumers to try new recipes and ingredients while also offering a holiday meal packed with protein and indulgent flavor in each bite.
Prepare seafood appetizer platters
The hallmark of holiday appetizers is a variety of foods that highlight the celebratory nature of the season. Today’s consumers want more than just run-of-the-mill items such as chips and dip or cheese and crackers. Retailers have an opportunity to help consumers elevate their appetizers by preparing seafood platters with a variety of premium seafood items, such as Alaska king crab and Alaska smoked salmon, sablefish or halibut. Savvy retailers will market these seafood platters to time-strapped consumers so they can order ahead of time and pick up the day of the holiday gathering, ready to be showcased as the star of the show.
The holiday selling season provides an opportunity for grocers to increase profitability by positioning themselves as the place consumers can find the party-perfect seafood they’re craving. Make the holidays easier on customers by stocking a variety of products from Alaska Seafood. To learn more about Alaska Seafood, visit alaskaseafood.org.
This post is sponsored by Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute