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Where's the excitement in seafood? New seafood tools will help!

Seafood is safe. Seafood is healthy. Seafood is today's food.

Without reservation the above statements are true, now more than ever because consumers are looking for low-fat, convenient and exciting alternatives to mundane menus. So what's the holdup in seafood consumption? Where's the excitement? Here are some ideas to jump-start sluggish seafood sales.

Trends and Merchandising Tools

According to a recent survey by the National Restaurant Association, "fish and shellfish orders captured nearly 20 percent of upscale restaurant orders in 1991, and that overall seafood restaurant traffic rose 1.1 percent ahead of a one percent increase for all restaurants." How can you increase your restaurant's seafood Center-of-The-Plate sales? Consider Seafood Service, the first ever "seafood focused" menu marketing supplement developed by the National Fisheries Institute, in conjunction with Restaurant Business and its two sister publications, Institutional Distribution and Food Service Director. SeafoodService is a 32-page magazine which demonstrates "how to menu seafood more profitably." The goal of SeafoodService is to demystify the successful menuing of seafood.

Stealing a quote from the introduction to SeafoodService: "Ounce for ounce, seafood tends to be more expensive than other proteins. But no other item performs like seafood ounce for ounce either. Wisely bought, intelligently handled and cooked in ways that unlock the advantages of its intrinsic flavor, health excitement, and variety, seafood can, and should, be a star on your menu."

Here's a glimpse at the topics covered:

* Seafood Success Stories--A look at what restaurants are doing to successfully menu seafood.

* Fish and Shellfish Safety--Hard facts brought to you by FDA Commissioner, Dr. David Kessler.

* Seafood Assemblies--Recipe ideas to save food and labor costs and increase perceived value.

* Seafood Trends--a preview of what consumers are eating and how you can capture more seafood sales.

* Species Selection Chart--An edibility, preparation and buying profile of over 40 species of fish.

* Purchasing Partnerships--"How to" develop a good relationship with your supplier/customer.

* Common Questions asked of the waitstaff and how they should respond.

* The Goals and Objectives of the National Fisheries Institute.

SeafoodService was distributed to over 225,000 food service operators in August and September to generate increased sales during October National Seafood Month, the holidays and all year long! It is NFI's goal to make SeafoodService an annual effort that will build up the category (For information on obtaining SeafoodService refer to the information provided at the end of the article.)

Another fantastic opportunity to learn more about seafood menuing is at the upcoming American Meat Institute, National Broiler Council and National Fisheries Institute (AMI-NBC-NFI) Center-of-the-Plate Conference, December 7-9, 1992 at the New Orleans Hilton. The three commodity groups have joined forces and developed an information-packed program for center-of-the-plate decision makers. From featured speaker, Michael Hurst, former president of the National Restaurant Association (NRA) to futurist Marvin Cetron, attendees will hear about trends, food predictions and "state of the industry" reports from representatives of each of the three protein groups. The conference features a blockbuster, "food service in the '90's" panel moderated by NRA's Executive Vice President, Bill Fisher with featured panelists representing the best in the industry. Each food group--meat, chicken and seafood--will have separate break-out sessions which relate to the specific marketing, menuing, and regulatory issues of their particular industry. Mark your calendar and don't miss this conference and your opportunity to jazz up your menu and your sales.

Both SeafoodService and the Center-of-the-Plate Conference provide excellent menu marketing opportunities for operators, distributors and processors. Put the excitement back in your seafood sales by taking advantage of these programs!


The recently held Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Seafood Merchandising Conference, (mid-August in Seattle, Washington) was a highly attended conference of retail chain stores, seafood executives, seafood suppliers and manufacturers. The theme "In '92 It's Up to You" reinforced the need for retailers to commit to retail seafood success, through motivational and incentive driven training.

Attendees heard from a host of speakers who discussed everything from the fact that quality is the buzzword for the next 10 years, to the message from the media to expect more negative press coverage on seafood safety.

FMI's Seafood Merchandising Conference key note speaker Kelsy Tyson, co-developer of the international best-seller, the One Minute Manager, discussed the reasons why companies are not able to keep up with the competition: today's business leaders and employees are "resistant to change. 'To be effective, a successful leader must plan for the future, yesterday's plans and programs don't work anymore--managers today must take actions now to secure the marketplace from further erosion and expand the business.

The "take-home" message from a panel represented by consumer advocacy groups and the media was that they want to hear more about the positive innovations in technology as they relate to seafood safety. They are looking for success stories from the retail and supply sectors of the industry.

A major emphasis was placed on the importance of training the sales associate--the front-line employee behind the retail seafood counter. A new training program targeting the sales associate--Seafood Skills--was demonstrated at the conference. Seafood Skills, produced by Seafood Business Magazine and recently endorsed by the National Fisheries Institute, is a comprehensive, innovative, 10 module training program which includes training guides and accompanying video tapes. The ten modules provide sales associates the opportunity to learn everything there is to know about the seafood department, from sanitation to suggestive-selling. Each module combines an instructional video with a pre-test, post-test and a programmed workbook that reinforces the key points of the training. The complete program is available at a very reasonable cost.

All of the programs mentioned above are designed to increase the knowledge and confidence in handling, merchandising and selling seafood--whether you are food service or retail operator or, a supplier to the industry. Encouraging your customers to take advantage of Seafood Service, the Center-of-the-Plate Conference, or the Seafood Skills educational program, is one of the most important ways for a supplier to strengthen the supplier/customer partnership...and go a long way towards enhancing the excitement of selling seafood.

For more information on any of these programs, please contact the Communications Department, (703) 542-8881.

Clare Vanderbeek Vice President of Communications National Fisheries Institute
COPYRIGHT 1992 Frozen Food Digest, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:seafood marketing strategies
Author:Vanderbeek, Clare
Publication:Frozen Food Digest
Date:Oct 1, 1992
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