What a catch! 3 tips for promoting ready-to-cook seafood

Good weather makes for good grilling. With summer coming to an end, supermarket shoppers will be looking to local grocers for enticing seafood options for the last few barbeques, picnics and outdoor dinners by Labor Day and beyond. After all, salmon, tilapia, lobster and shrimp tend to cater to a more health-conscious consumer in a cooking format notoriously dominated by hot dogs and hamburgers. In an effort to include everyone at the dinner table, seafood adds a boost of protein and omega-3 fats for munchers looking for something different than the traditional grilling fare.

However, in the eyes of commercial retailers, seafood has always had its challenges: high stock shrinkage, affordability, and food safety considerations to name a few. How can supermarkets everywhere invigorate summer seafood sales to conquer these concerns, especially when promoting ready-to-cook items?

1. Promotions
According to a 2015 Progressive Grocer survey, many respondents found selling success by pumping up seafood promotions that focused on bundling ready-to-cook items and cross-promoting seafood with other stock.

“Ready-to-cook seafood products fare well during short sales events.”

Lobsters, for instance, might be perceived as beyond the average budget, until a store decides to include crowd-pleasing seafood seasoning or a package of shellfish prongs with a certain per pound purchase. Couple bundling promotions with in-store sampling to lure customers in. Additionally, ready-to-cook seafood products also fare well during short sales events lasting one to three days. These core marketing tools can both encourage customers to buy and prevent retailers from overspending on perishable stock.

2. Preparations
Seafood is used in dishes all around the world, so retailers and the seafood departments shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with recipes. Use seafood’s diversity as an advantage – incorporate Mexican dishes and break up Pan-Asian cuisine into distinct menu options.

If retailers successfully demonstrate the versatility of seafood to customers, they’re more likely to think of this specialty product as a lunch and dinner mainstay. Ready-to-cook packages can drive that initiative home.

3. ‘Organic’ as differentiator
Recently, a majority of supermarkets have taken a bold stance on genetically engineered salmon in response to consumer concerns. A study performed by Friends of the Earth revealed as many as 80 percent of retailers have pledged to no longer sell GE salmon. Any retail supermarket or grocery store that hasn’t made a decision either way ought to follow the fold, if not for the environmental impact then because of consumer consensus around the issue.

That said, the study also reported at least 35 different types of genetically modified fish exist in supermarket stock today. A commitment to organic seafood products is worthy of a vocal marketing campaign – ready-to-cook packages convince customers to take non-GMO products home and taste the difference, so long as retailers amp up display case merchandising efforts.