Display cases help tell seafood’s story
Maybe seafood fraud would be less of an issue if more people knew what the different types of fish looked like. Dirk Fucik, owner of Dirk’s Fish in Chicago, helps his customers tell which fish is which by including the whole fish, front and center, in his retail seafood display.
“Americans are used to having everything prepared, wrapped up in a foam tray and ready to go,” says Fucik. “That’s one of the reasons why we put a whole fish on display. People go, ‘What’s that?’ and we tell them, ‘That’s what the whole parrot fish looks like before they cut it.’ It gives them an idea of what their fish actually looks like.”
Fucik puts the roughly 20 varieties of fish he gets per day on ice in Pinnacle display cases that are more than 30 years old. He labels his seafood with signs in front of the case, and highlights hot picks for the weekend and specials on a blackboard behind the counter.
“I try to give as much information as possible to people when they walk in the door,” he explains. “Selling seafood is educational, a lot of it, and a lot of people don’t know about fish.”
As Fucik points out, displaying seafood is not just about showing — but also telling. With the rise of sustainability programs, retailers also have to bring those sustainable products to their customers’ attention. Sustainability is also playing a role in the display equipment itself with stores making efforts to cut energy use without taking away from the product’s appearance.