German restaurant giant delves into retail deli seafood

Published on
October 7, 2015

German seafood restaurant and fast food giant Nordsee entered a new arena this month, with the introduction of a new line of delicatessen products designed specifically for sale in major retail outlets.

The products, which have been developed with German delicatessen specialists Homann, include triple breaded Alaska pollock with remoulade sauce, salmon pate with lemongrass, gravadlax topped with a mustard-dill sauce, three hot and cold smoked salmon cures, salmon salad with apple and horseradish, exotic crayfish cocktail with apple and curry, herring with dill, herring with cucumber and onion, classic red herring salad with fresh beetroot and sweet cranberries, Matjes herring, mackerel pate flavored with piri piri, and tuna pate with chilli.

These new lines were introduced to the public via a TV and social media campaign that takes a fresh approach to advertising seafood.

“There are people who do not like fish. For all others we are there. NORDSEE #WirsindFisch, (We are Fish),” says the TV advert.

Consumers are also invited to become part of Nordsee’s “Fish Lover” community on Facebook and the numbers have been growing all week.

“In developing the campaign, it was particularly important for us to act honestly and openly. We know that not everyone likes fish, so we decided to speak openly about that. For everyone who does like it, we have something to offer, whether it’s grilled, fried, smoked or delicious sushi. Our focus is on tasty products with an attractive presentation, highlighted with unique, natural imagery,” said a spokesperson.

The new products were partly inspired by a study undertaken last year by Nordsee and market research company Forsa, which found that two out of three Germans like to serve fish on special occasions, but were disappointed by the fish delicatessen choice at the grocery store. 99 percent of respondents cited quality as a major factor when buying fish delicatessen products, while 85 percent said it was important that the fish comes from sustainable sources.

The company has always been mindful of customer attitudes to sustainability, particularly in Germany, and for preference, seeks out species from sustainably certified stocks. Provenance and fishing methods are all noted on its website, along with nutritional values, “to provide customers with the greatest possible transparency.”

In its restaurants, Nordsee uses more than 3,300 metric tons (MT) of Alaska Pollock each year, 1,600 MT of herring, 1,300 MT of Saithe, 1,100 MT of plaice, 200 MT of cod, 100 MT of mackerel, 100 MT of pangasius, 1,100 MT of shrimp and 600 MT of salmon, with much of the last two species organically certified.

Nordsee’s 381 fish restaurants can be found on the high street, in shopping centers, at motorway services and at train stations and airports. There are currently more than 320 outlets in Germany, as well as a presence in Austria, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Belgium and Dubai. One third of the outlets are franchise operations, and forty percent have a retail counter.

The 120-year-old chain, which boasts nearly 20 million customers per year, sells a wide range of hot and cold fish baguettes, snack boxes, seafood wraps, salads and delicatessen, smoked fish, shrimp, sushi and fish and chips. Turnover is more than EUR 350 million per year (USD 395 million), 51 percent of which is attributed to in-house restaurant sales, 38 percent to take-away snacks, and the remainder to fresh fish and seafood delicatessen retail products from its own stores.

Robert Jung, who is currently responsible for sales and marketing and CEO of Nordsee’s Austrian division, will become overall CEO from 1 January 2016. He aims to increase sales to over EUR 400 million (USD 451 million) in the short term and EUR 500 million (USD 564 million) within a few years. He is planning a major investment in upgrading the company’s own restaurants to give them a fresh new look, and if the new retail products go well, additional innovative lines will be added.

Early reports are that the first batch of products is creating a lot of interest from customers!

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