Daisy Berg, of New Seasons Market, is a proponent of maximizing "every part of the fish, not just the favorite cuts," with the aims of contributing to a more sustainable seafood industry and reducing waste.
We may be (mostly) over the pandemic at this point, but seafood still has a role to play in generating sales in various parts of the store.
Acknowledging that seafood sales have slowed since the height of the pandemic as consumers have returned to eating in restaurants, Daisy Berg, seafood program and category manager at Portland, Ore.-based New Seasons Market, nevertheless points out that “[f]rozen seafood has … maintained its popularity, as consumers have come to understand that it can often be just as good, if not better, than fresh seafood. Moreover, cost deflation has played a role in shaping our current seafood sales. Notably, the prices of wild salmon, crab and local fish have decreased, making these options more accessible to consumers. As people continue to prioritize their spending, we’ve employed promotions and value-focused initiatives to cater to customers seeking affordable options.”
One such recent program “is a reimagined lineup of easier-to-prepare or ready-to-cook meals,” adds Berg. “We understand that simplicity and convenience are crucial factors for our customers, so we have focused on providing new options, such as prepackaged filets, which reduce meal preparation hassle. Additionally, in response to the growing awareness of responsible and sustainable sourcing, we have placed a strong emphasis on offering seafood options that not only benefit our customers’ health, but also prioritize the health of the environment.”
“Customers are continuing to seek value to stretch dollars during their shop,” notes Nate Jewell, seafood category manager at Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford Supermarkets. “Although we’ve seen seafood costs stabilize from inflationary impacts, we are still competing with other more budget-friendly proteins such as chicken and pork. Where we are seeing growth is in driving customer convenience and ease of access by offering ready-to-cook, prepackaged seafood options. And because today’s customers are shopping with value in mind, we’re also introducing and supporting new promotions to drive engagement and sales.”
To that end, Hannaford “is continuing to focus on developing variety around our grab-and-go seafood meal kits, which are a convenient option for customers who don’t want to wait to be served out of the case,” continues Jewell. “We provide a variety of options, including shrimp, salmon, and breaded haddock and cod.”
[Read more: "Hannaford, Gulf of Maine Research Institute Issue Seafood Guide"]
“I think our guests have appreciated the fact that we’ve been able to offer several items at lower retails than last year, with some of the seafood commodity markets returning to conditions more like prior to 2020,” says Jeff Earl, director of meat and seafood at The Fresh Market, based in Greensboro, N.C. “We’ve recently updated several offerings in both our appetizer category and our value-added category. Our new proprietary mini-crab cakes have seen early success in their recent launch.”