How do you make shrimp stand out from all the other shrimp on the market? Well, you could "Gump" it.
, Calif., got the idea after seeing Paramount Pictures' "Forrest Gump."
"Branded [seafood] products are very rare because the margins usually will not allow you any room for a budget to market the brand. So what you end up with is a product line that, in essence, becomes generic," he explains.
Meridian, a company that posts between $225 million and $250 million in annual sales, now markets raw, headless shrimp, cooked tail-on shrimp and cooked salad shrimp, all quick-frozen and packaged in 12-ounce and 14-ounce bags bearing the red, white and blue logo of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
Without any doubt, the Gump name has increased distribution for the seafood company. "The awareness level is tremendous," he says. "When you want to visit with [retailers] about promoting Bubba Gump shrimp, you certainly get an audience." Meridian is urging retailers to create displays in the seafood departments and to merchandise the shrimp with other Gump products, such as hats, aprons and, of course, the new "Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Cookbook: Recipes and Reflections from Forrest Gump."
Major supermarkets across the country are taking Zolezzi's suggestion, including Safeway, Oakland, Calif.; Lucky Stores, Dublin, Calif.; Wegmans Food Markets, Rochester, N.Y.; Mayfair Super Markets, Elizabeth, N.J.; and Stop & Shop Cos., Quincy, Mass.
"It takes a while to get the concept because we're dealing with seafood managers in an industry that has not afforded them a lot of promotional or branded opportunities," Zolezzi notes. The company will soon be announcing the details of a contest designed to increase display activity in seafood departments.