Gorton’s launches new easy-to-bake seafood line
Just in time for Seafood Expo North America 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts, taking place from 17 to 19 March, Gorton’s is launching a frozen seafood line that it believes will draw new consumers to the seafood category.
Its Ocean to Oven line, which includes two “lightly prepared” cod items and two salmon items, are vacuum-sealed in an oven-ready tray. Consumers peel off the film and place the tray of two IQF fillets in the oven.
Varieties in the line, which retail for a suggested USD 7.99 (EUR 7.08) to USD 8.99 (EUR 7.96) each, include: New England Baked Cod, Caper & Lemon Butter Sauced Cod, Mustard Crusted Salmon, and Pecan & Panko Crusted Salmon.
"These items are focused on bringing new households into the prepared seafood category with delightful recipes often enjoyed at restaurants - now available in an ultra-convenient prepared format for easy home preparation,” Chris Hussey, vice president of marketing for the Gloucester, Massachusetts-based supplier, told SeafoodSource.
The line was designed with the consumer who shops the perimeter (fresh departments) of grocery stores in mind, added Lina Gearity, senior marketing manager of Gorton’s.
“That is why we have selected high quality species and toppings that are inspired by consumers’ kitchens and taste incredible, vacuum-packed them for peak freshness with nothing to hide, and put them in an oven-ready tray for ultimate convenience,” Gearity said.
The cod and salmon are wild-caught, MSC-certified sustainable, and backed by “Gorton’s Trusted Catch” promise. Trusted Catch encompasses all of Gorton's sustainability initiatives, from sustainable seafood sourcing to other green efforts including a more efficient plant and distribution network.
Furthering its use of cod, Gorton’s also recently added a Premium Cod Fillet and a Premium Cod Stick, both coated in Panko breadcrumbs, to its Premium Species Stick and Fillet line.
“Cod remains the most broadly known and most appealing whitefish with consumers across the U.S., so expanding our line to include cod is meeting an unmet need,” Hussey said.
Both the Premium Cod Fillet and Premium Cod Stick feature larger fillet cuts than its traditional classic breaded and battered items, according to Hussey.
Gorton’s new line and line extension correspond with an increasing demand for high quality frozen seafood from millennials and other demographic groups. Frozen seafood sales climbed 1.7 percent for the 13 weeks ending 19 January, according to Nielsen data, and have shown growth throughout the past year, Hussey said.
Last year, Gorton’s also overhauled eight of its top-selling products. The revamp included introducing new formulations - such as microwavable fish sticks for the first time; a switch to once-frozen, sustainable pollock; and upgraded packaging.
“While we continue to see strong sales momentum across these updated products, we expect that growth to accelerate throughout Lent as more and more consumers learn about the benefits,” Hussey said. “There is an education element to understanding the quality improvements, but ultimately the improvements allow Gorton’s to deliver an unbeatable fresh taste across the line. We will be sharing that key benefit broadly across TV, digital, social and traditional PR.”
Throughout Lent, Gorton’s is also running a humorous “Mer Bros” (male mermaids) television campaign, which expands on its “Mer Man” campaign from last year.
“The Fisherman remains a very strong and recognized equity of the brand as does the ‘Trust the Gorton’s Fisherman jingle’,” Hussey said.
Still, the company is trying to engage younger audiences with the new campaign.
“As we endeavor to attract younger buyers and emerging families, we are using a creative approach that integrates engaging humor with our long established equities, all while reinforcing the compelling product benefits that are being delivered by our upgraded products,” Hussey said. “Consumers have long trusted Gorton’s for quality prepared seafood and we reinforce that with our characters of Poseidon and the Mer Bros who also know seafood and trust Gorton’s.”