Alaska pollock stepping onto bigger stage for Lent

Published on
February 25, 2021

U.S. quick-service restaurants are banking heavily on Lent for a lift as the foodservice sector continues to battle through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fish sandwiches have been popular additions to many menus in advance of the Lenten season, and Dairy Queen has become the latest chain to add a pollock fish sandwich, the Wild Alaskan Fish Sandwich, which includes a fried wild pollock fillet, lettuce, and tangy tartar sauce on a toasted bun. In addition, Jack in the Box’s new Deluxe Fish Sandwich features two fillets of wild Alaska pollock covered in crispy panko bread crumbs, along with cheese, tomato and tartar sauce, per Chew Boom. And Bojangles recently brought back its Bojangler fish sandwich, made with wild Alaskan pollock, while Wienerschnitzel’s reprised its Fish ’N Chips dish, which includes panko-crusted Alaskan pollock with french fries and tartar sauce.

Long John Silver’s (LJS) is offering a Fish and Shrimp Combo with one piece of hand-battered wild Alaska pollock, three pieces of shrimp, one side, two hushpuppies, and a drink. The Louisville, Kentucky-based seafood chain is also featuring shrimp in its USD 10.00 (EUR 8.30) Sea-Shares, featuring the customer’s choice of 15 grilled shrimp, 15 batter-dipped shrimp, or a shareable serving of crispy breaded popcorn shrimp. Customers can also order nine hand-battered chicken tenders or a six-piece hand-battered Alaska pollock option as part of the deal. Alaska pollock will also feature in 7-Eleven’s new “Fish Bites” and Denny’s s Fish and Chips special platters, the Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP) said in a press release.

“Wild Alaska pollock used to be a fish somewhat hidden in plain sight during Lent. Industry insiders enjoyed the sales lift, but consumers didn’t know wild Alaska pollock was the fish they were enjoying in so many products featured during Lent,” GAPP Chief Executive Officer Craig Morris said. “Yet this year, as Lent kicks off, it’s clear that not only are [quick-service restaurants] choosing wild Alaska pollock as their protein of choice, but they’re choosing to ‘say our name’ loudly and proudly because increasingly consumers love the product and its story.”

GAPP will be actively engaging with influencers such as food bloggers and consumers via a Lenten campaign called “The Fish for Friday’s Dish. And Beyond.”

Using geotargeting and new visual content, GAPP hopes to drive people to learn more about the fish behind the specials – both at foodservice and at retail. GAPP’s social media will have “factual, yet fun, information about the fish, the fishery and some tips and tricks for how best to prepare this sustainable, nutritious, versatile and delicious fish, perfectly,” the organization said.

GAPP will also drive consumers to new content on its website, featuring a novel “seasonal” special each day.

Restaurant chains are also featuring several other type of fish and shellfish for Lent – primarily shrimp and lobster.

Popeyes’ Cajun Flounder Sandwich for USD 4.49 (EUR 3.70) utilizes wild Pacific flounder and is seasoned with a blend of Popeyes’ Cajun seasoning.

Bloomin’ Brands’ Bonefish Grill is touting its “Fry-Days” specials every Friday during Lent. This week, it is offering Angler’s Catch, which includes tempura-style, hand-battered crispy cod and jumbo shrimp, served with french fries.

Similarly, TGI Fridays is running a Lent Fridays” promotion through 3 April. It is offering Fish & Chips, Dragon-Glazed Salmon, Fried Shrimp, Simply Grilled Salmon, and Caesar Salad with Salmon, the restaurant chain said in a press release.

“Our Fish Fridays menu provides variety throughout the entire Lenten season,” TGI Friday’s Chief Experience Officer Sara Bittorf said.

Newk’s Eatery also recently added a Spicy Southwest Shrimp Caesar Salad and a Spicy Southwest Shrimp Caesar Sandwich for the Lenten season.

Quiznos, which operates around 500 restaurants, brought back its “fan favorite” Lobster Classic sub sandwich and added the Old Bay Lobster Club, “which elevates the lobster and seafood salad with the additions of Old Bay Seasoning, bacon, lettuce, and tomato,” the restaurant company said.

Photo courtesy of Long John Silver’s

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