The six weeks between Ash Wednesday and Easter—when many consumers avoid eating meat on Fridays for Lent—is a great opportunity for the seafood department. In 2017, according to Nielsen data, U.S. retailers generated $1 billion in seafood sales during Lent. By putting forth a strong marketing push before Lent, retailers can not only get shoppers excited about seafood during Lent but also give them inspiration for how to incorporate seafood into their home cooking well beyond those six weeks, extending that boost in sales.
Here are a few ways to entice shoppers to eat more seafood before, during and after Lent.
Host cooking demos
Technomic’s 2019 Center of the Plate: Seafood & Vegetarian Consumer Trend Report notes that 32% of consumers say they expect to eat more seafood over the next year, but 22% say they usually don’t eat seafood at home because they don’t know how or don’t like to cook it. For consumers who want to start eating more fish and seafood, not knowing how to cook it is a big barrier.
To get over this hurdle, retailers can consider hosting cooking demos or posting videos on social media about different ways to prepare fish and seafood that is offered at the store.
Retailers can also showcase the Cook It Frozen! method in these demos to highlight how simple cooking seafood is. Cook It Frozen!, from Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, is a technique of cooking frozen seafood directly from the freezer, using familiar methods like sauteing , roasting, steaming, broiling, poaching or grilling. This eliminates the need for defrosting. Retailers interested in hosting an onsite demo should visit cookitfrozen.com for more information.
By spreading awareness about how to cook and eat fish, retailers can increase the likelihood that shoppers will put it in their carts.
Post recipes and meal ideas near displays
When shoppers are in stores, they may or may not have a shopping list they adhere to. For those who are shopping “just to see what looks good for dinner” for instance, showcasing different meal ideas can be a cornerstone in getting them to purchase certain items. Recipe ideas can be handed out for free with customers’ orders, or retailers can set up “take a card” stations near certain fish cases to inspire shoppers.
For instance, posting photos and offering a recipe for Miso Alaska Halibut with Soba Noodle Stir Fry can entice shoppers to buy halibut—as well as the other ingredients needed for the dish. Recipes are a great way to help ease consumers’ hesitation in purchasing—when they know it’ll be easy to prepare, they may be more likely to take the plunge.
Retailers should also highlight sourcing of seafood. Technomic’s report found consumers are interested in sustainability and sourcing when buying seafood. Nearly half (46%) of consumers say it’s important to know which country the seafood they eat is from. According to 2017 research from Datassential, 78% of consumers believe retailers that display the Alaska seafood logo are showing they care about offering high quality seafood and 72% say that seeing the Alaska Seafood logo would increase their likelihood of purchasing seafood. Be sure to highlight the brand and origin of seafood in display cases to increase appeal.
Make seafood a year-round meal
Seafood is a big seller during Lent, but it has the potential to be a big deal during the rest of the year too. By increasing awareness of seafood sourcing, offering free recipes and meal ideas and hosting on-site (or web-based) cooking demos, retailers can help ensure seafood is more appealing to shoppers, no matter what time of year it is.
This post is sponsored by Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute