The lack of significant growth in the seafood department is due to lack of innovation in the seafood case, John Whitman of Whitman Management Group argued at a session here at the Seafood Expo in Boston.
Whitman said that his father told him that if you live by the low price sword, you die by the low price sword. Instead of playing the price game, he suggested making consumer focused changes to the department.
“Value-added [products] are going to be the change that’s necessary to drive incremental sales that mean something to your customer,” he said. He suggested ready-to-eat products like chowders, or with special favoring like New Orleans style crawfish tail, garlic crab or Caribbean flavored peel and eat shrimp.
Seafood could be brought to the mainstream, he said, by offering products like seafood burgers or seafood sausages, familiar items with a seafood twist.
Whitman also suggested regularly changing up displays with different dimensions and platters to appeal to different customers’ personalities, cross-merchandising seafood — such as surf and turf skewers with tenderloin or with wine during a sampling event.