Tuesday,13 March,2012 13:21:02
Day 2 of the seafood show was busy as usual. Attending the seafood show is always busy, but trying to experience the show on top of the usual work day phone calls and problems is another level of busy. One good thing is that half of the people that often call me are just as busy running around at the show.
For me, it started before 6:00 a.m. leading tours through the Boston Seafood Display Auction and the Sousa Seafood fresh seafood processing plant. After a breakfast meeting, the highlights of my day were the seafood conferences and meetings with key buyers.
I attended the conference about running killer demos. It provided lots of tips, ideas, and examples of well executed in-store product demonstrations for supermarkets. I will have a separate detailed recap of that seminar.
Another conference I attended was performed by Steve Lutz from the Perishables group. I always learn so much from Steve’s presentations. The Perishables Group does consumer surveys, and analyzes scan data information from all retail food channels across the U.S. In a nut shell, Lutz said the numbers show the economy is getting better, and consumer confidence is growing. He points out that we seem to be seeing a polarization of the U.S. consumer, meaning that there are more affluent shoppers, and more value shoppers, and fewer middle class. He called it bifurcation. That is a new word to me too, but I think we will hear it more often in the future, because that trend could continue to grow. He said retailers can take advantage of that information by tailoring assortment and promotions to high end and value customers. Lutz said the affluent suburban shopper continues to be the best seafood shopper and is twice as likely to buy seafood than other customers. Lutz also says seafood shoppers are the shoppers supermarkets should want the most in their stores. The average shopper nationwide buys about USD 38 worth of groceries per trip, but the average shopper with seafood in their basket buys USD 76 worth of goods. That is higher than any other department in the store.
I heard more feedback on new items from supermarket executives. I heard good feedback or outright interest in carrying L’Essence shrimp scones, from Dish Hospitality. Simple Salmon’s smoked salmon bacon is very tasty said a west coast retailer’s seafood director. One retailer said they loved the flavor of the shrimp burgers from Chef Big Shake, but another told the packaging look out of date and cheap. A retailer told me the worst new item was the tuna cabbage roll form PT Toba. It did not look like an item for the American consumer to me either. Another retailer liked the Maristellas shrimp gumbo pot pie. I went by the boot to get a taste. I really liked the small samples they made. Instead of cutting up the 10-ounce pot pies for samples, they made mini versions of the pot pies in 2-ounce aluminum cups. Those could be a nice holiday appetizer item on their own. Overall, there are a lot of new prepared seafood items made with salmon, tilapia, and swai. New Swai items may be the most abundant. Finding the right ones is the key.
On Tuesday, I will be on the show floor most of day looking for new products, interesting concepts, talking to the experts, and looking for sales driving items. I like Tuesday, because the crowds are smaller, I have fewer meetings, and can take more time at the booths of interest.