Chicken of the Sea’s three-year plan hinges on “very robust innovation pipeline”
As Thai Union-owned Chicken of the Sea steps up marketing of its Infusions flavored tuna cups line, it’s also looking forward to future unique product rollouts.
“We have a very robust innovation pipeline for the next three years,” Diego Isaza, vice president of marketing for Chicken of the Sea, told SeafoodSource. “This fall, we will launch a new line of seafood and new flavors of Infusions.”
While Isaza declined to reveal specifics about the new seafood line, he said that the supplier is focused on “delivering products that are very convenient, high quality, and clean.”
Recently, Chicken of the Sea rolled out its first television ad in almost a decade to increase consumer awareness surrounding its Infusions! line, consisting of single-serve recyclable plastic cups of tuna in four flavors: Lemon & Thyme, Sundried Tomato, Thai Chili, and Basil.
“With Infusions, tuna is no longer a lunchmeat or a shelf-stable staple that pairs best with mayonnaise, but a sophisticated snack all its own. The campaign highlights that by showcasing the assortment of all-natural ingredients in each Infusions! cup as well as the fork that’s built into the portable and recyclable packaging,” a spokesperson for Chicken of the Sea told SeafoodSource.
Isaza said a return to television advertising is a result of having what the the company feels is a line of innovative products that will catch consumers' eyes.
“We haven’t had TV advertising in a long time. That is part of the nature of the category: it has become more commoditized,” Isaza said. “We are trying to bring good innovation and communication back and tell consumers about the benefits of our products.”
Innovatation in value-added products is essential to growing the overall market for shelf-stable tuna products, Isaza said, “so people really start going to our aisle and see what is new and different.
Most consumers eat tuna three to four times a year. With Infusions!, Chicken of the Sea aims to help tuna become a firm part of consumers’ diets and a healthy snack.
“This way, they can eat it several times a week,” Isaza said. “We have a great story to tell. We have products that have beautiful benefits that are so on-trend, but we need to educate consumers. Good communication and innovation will help to revitalize the category."
While the Infusions line was first introduced last year, it was formally launched earlier this year and was a key focus at Chicken of the Sea’s booth at Seafood Expo North America in Boston, Massachusetts in March 2019.
“The products have had great receptivity in the market,” Craig Rexroad, Thai Union’s communications director for North America, told SeafoodSource at SENA. “They’re selling in and our retailers are selling through. Repeat purchase have been really high. These are great indicators and we’re really happy so far.”
Infusions! are available in most major grocery and mass merchandiser chains, including Walmart, Harris Teeter, and Kroger.
“We have national distribution, and we continue to get more retailers interested to participate,” Isaza said. For example, Infusions! is currently carried in around 15 Costco stores, but Chicken of the Sea is “negotiating to see how we can expand” distribution with Costco, according to Isaza.
“We are also exploring going into more convenience stores,” Isaza said.
In-store demos and displays are also helping to boost awareness of the Infusions! line.
“Publix gave us a permanent display for a whole month at the front end. It allowed people to go shop the tuna aisle,” Isaza said.
In addition to TV ads that are running throughout May and June, Chicken of the Sea is running an ad in a USA Today special edition on sustainability this summer.
“Sustainability is very important to us, and we have a number-one ranking on Dow Jones Sustainability Indices,” Isaza said.