London, England -- August 10, 2012 --
Sainsbury’s new retail report, “Our Future with Fish,”
delivered valuable insight into the seafood purchasing trends of UK
consumers. It found that not only are Brits starting to eat a more
diverse range of species and consuming two percent more fish per capita
head than they were in 1975, but that their purchasing decisions are
being increasingly influenced by what they watch on TV and view online.
With the country’s strong celebrity chef culture, it should come as
no surprise that the report, compiled by market research company Future
Foundation, found almost half of UK adults said the way they cook and
eat fish is swayed by these small screen personalities; and 35 percent
said they have been influenced by TV documentaries about fishing.
comparison, just 24 percent of the people questioned felt supermarkets
directly influenced their choices of fish. This shows that either the
country’s supermarket chains have some ground to make up or that their
efforts are going largely unacknowledged.
Yet supermarkets are the
main gateway to seafood in the United Kingdom with an 87 percent share
of the retail market in terms of consumer spend. According to Future
Foundation, supermarkets have considerable power to influence the
shopping choices of a large proportion of their customers. The report
also found that retail campaigns are increasingly being “plugged in” to
popular culture, often through the backing or involvement of
celebrities, including TV chefs.
“These connections help make
messages strong and lasting, and can dramatically shape shopping
behavior,” the report said, but it advised that campaigns must encompass
in-store promotions, social networking sites and traditional TV and
“Messages need to connect with consumers’ everyday feelings, concerns and motivations, and tie-in with cultural trends.”
report finds interest and awareness about nutrition, sustainability and
provenance is growing and Future Foundation said the challenge for
retailers is to encourage interest in more varieties of alternative,
sustainable fish and to supply information that will help shoppers
choose and cook fish with confidence.
“Often the issues are
complex. This presents a challenge: how to communicate with customers in
a way that leaves them feeling clear about the issues and the action
they want to take. If they feel overburdened with detail, the risk is an
Nevertheless, the broadening
purchasing habits of UK consumers will be welcome news for retailers and
a pat on the back for store-wide campaigns such as Sainsbury’s “Switch
the Fish,” which was launched in June last year and offered customers
asking for one of the so-called “big five” species (cod, haddock, tuna,
salmon and prawns) at the fish counter, a sustainable, lesser known
alternative for free.
Sainsbury’s saw counter sales of these
alternative varieties, such as coley, pouting, rainbow trout, hake and
megrim total 524,000 units between July and December 2011, compared with
434,000 units in the same period in 2010 – an increase of 21 percent.
What wasn’t divulged in the report was whether sales of the big five
dropped as a result.
The report did say that “overcoming our
inbuilt reluctance” to try new things is getting easier over time, with
UK children and adults more willing to try new foods than in the past.
increasingly cosmopolitan attitude toward eating is a fundamental
driver of uptake for alternative fish, guaranteeing lively interest in
alternative fish in coming years.
Read the full story on Seafood Source