BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. (FNS) -- High-end clothiers have long realized the power of a label. Now, seafood merchandisers are attempting to capture the same cachet.
In the Pacific Northwest, where seafood is taken seriously, the Nakata Thriftway units, based here, are banking on a branded line of seafood specialties to emphasize the chain's commitment to quality. The line of seafood is being marketed under the name of Bruce Gore, a noted Alaskan fisherman.
While select items are merchandised in seafood departments throughout the six-unit chain, the showcase with the most complete selection of the "designer" fish can be found at the new Market Place store here. The items at this unit are merchandised in 16 feet of frozen, self-serve coffin cases adjacent to the service seafood case. Hanging chalk boards announce the line and describe some of its features.
For example, wild-caught salmon are captured by Gore and his specially trained partners using the time-honored hook and line fishing method. The fish are killed in the water -- which prevents bruising -- and placed in the hold amidships within 90 minutes of being caught. While the boat is still at sea, the fish are flash frozen and tagged, so that they can be tracked by place, date and time caught.
The items are presented in-store in a frozen state and packaged in clear, see-through film. Some items contain seasonings and sauces as part of a value-added package, while others are simply presented in an attractive manner.
The week SN visited the Seattle-area stores, the Bruce Gore-labeled silver salmon were priced at $8.98 per pound.