42 feature | seafood CONSUMER PERISHABLES DATABOOK 2016
The fresh seafood department has regained posi- tive sales growth as prices across the department have fallen and stabilized in recent years. The 6. 6 percent growth in fresh seafood volume over
the latest 52 weeks ended Feb. 27 outpaced the other four
fresh departments, thanks to two species in particular. The
increasing consumer focus on health and wellness has con-
tributed to double-digit growth of fresh salmon, and price
reductions of shrimp have buoyed this department staple
to more than 20 percent growth compared to the previ-
ous year. But plenty of opportunity exists beyond these two
staples for the smallest of the five fresh departments.
Health is the No. 1 global concern following the economy. According to a recent Nielsen survey, 53 percent of
consumers are willing to pay more for foods that promote
health benefits, and 75 percent believe they can manage
their health through proper nutrition. With a recommendation of two servings per week, fresh seafood offers myriad
of health benefits to consumers including a reduction in
heart disease risk. While many people recognize the benefits
of salmon, other species do not receive the same association. Running ad campaigns or placing signage behind the
counter touting each species’ nutrients and benefits could
generate higher purchase rates.
Yet seafood is the least-purchased department, and house-
holds that do purchase seafood only buy it a few times per
the coasts, educating customers on the origin of the seafood
and transportation practices in place to keep it fresh could
alleviate some consumer concerns over quality.
Another opportunity for education is in the preparation
of seafood. Retailers and suppliers can work to dispel perceptions that seafood is more exotic and complicated to
prepare than traditional proteins. By providing preparation
instructions to lower the intimidation factor of preparing
seafood, retailers and suppliers can generate more confidence among buyers. Using social media to facilitate additional engagement with customers on the topic can provide
another avenue for inspiring confidence and creativity with
new recipes and meal suggestions.
Of course, preparation only occurs after the purchase
occurs, and consumers are actively seeking more convenient options in-store. Pre-seasoned filets can provide additional value for the consumer and reduce uncertainty over
how to flavor the item. Seafood can also benefit from the
rapid growth of deli prepared sales. Integrating more seafood into deli prepared offerings can increase exposure and
comfortability with more unique species and provide an
affordable option for consumers seeking something new. It
also provides a convenient solution without the worry over
The return of fresh seafood sales to positive growth is an
encouraging sign, but there is still an opportunity to reach
a broader set of households and expand their frequency of
purchase. Capitalizing on convenient solutions and focusing on health benefit education can help meet critical consumer needs that are driving sales trends across the store,
and ultimately generate higher purchase rates for fresh seafood.
There is an opportunity to reach a broader set of households and
expand their frequency of seafood purchases.