U.S. retailers gear up for Lent
By Christine Blank, SeafoodSource contributing editor
Published on 19 February, 2012
Lent kicks off on Wednesday, so it’s no wonder that supermarkets across the United States are ramping up their seafood promotions to correlate with the season and its eat-fish-on-Friday tradition.
Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle, which has more than 250 stores in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland, is among them.
“Fish fries will be held at participating stores in our prepared foods department on Ash Wednesday and every Friday during Lent, with fish sandwiches and family meals available at low prices,” said Dan Donovan, a spokesperson for Giant Eagle.
Fish will be fried for shoppers to purchase in bulk at USD 6.99 a pound, as part of a sandwich value meal for USD 4.99 or as part of a family meal (2 pounds of fish, two dies, rolls or cornbread and discounted iced tea) for USD 16.99.
Giant Eagle’s prepared foods department also added new items for Lent, including Maryland-style crab cakes, potato wedges and stuffed shells. Giant Eagle has re-formulated some of its chilled vegetarian soups, which makes them “attractive options during the Lenten season,” said Donovan.
Every Friday during Lent, Dallas-based Central Market highlights seafood dishes as part of its “Dinner for Two” chef-prepared meals. Prepared entrées offered include Grilled Salmon with Tomatillo Avocado Sauce and Almond-Crusted Tilapia.
Beuhler’s Market in Wooster, Ohio, also provides a “Dinner for Two” prepared meals service, which includes meat, sides and a dessert, typically for USD 12.99 total. Every Friday in February, Beuhler’s “Dinner for Two” meals feature seafood, such as Maryland Crab Cakes and Salmon Patties.
With a majority of its stores in the New Orleans area, Rouses in Thibodaux, La., is catering to both Mardi Gras party-goers and those celebrating Lent with its current seafood specials. On its website and in its weekly circular (good through 21 February), Rouses is reminding shoppers that it offers fresh-boiled crawfish in its stores. It is also promoting 9/12 count wild, frozen Louisiana shrimp for USD 5.99 a pound, two 6-ounce Rouses crawfish burgers for USD 6 and fresh Scottish salmon fillets for USD 6.99 a pound.
In addition, Rouses’ cooking classes in March will be centered on preparing seafood.
Seafood suppliers also recognize that Lent is the perfect time to generate buzz about their products. St. Simons Island, Ga.-based SeaPak Shrimp & Seafood, for example, recently launched a new website, logo, packaging and a line of “Family Size” breaded items.
The new SeaPak.com website is about bringing “The Taste of the Coast” to life, according to the company. In addition to providing recipes and product information, visitors to the site can share their special coastal memories that could be incorporated into the site.
Click here to read Blank’s story about how U.S. restaurant operators are promoting seafood during Lent.