Gorton’s partners with Netflix celebrity to grow pollock sales

Published on
April 29, 2019

Gorton’s renewed partnership with “Queer Eye” star and restauranteur Antoni Porowski was a natural fit, the frozen food supplier’s marketing director told SeafoodSource.

The Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP) said earlier this week that it was helping fund Gorton’s partnership with Antoni Porowski, best known for his role on Netflix's show Queer Eye, to create new recipes and buzz for wild Alaska pollock. 

This project received a portion of USD 1 million (EUR 897,000) from GAPP’s North American Partnership Program, which awarded 12 seafood suppliers in its second round of funding. Other recipients of the marketing dollars included Trident Seafoods, High Liner Foods, True North Seafood, and American Seafoods. 

“The North American Partnership Program is all about getting new consumer segments excited about - and purchasing - wild Alaska pollock and we could not be more excited to partner with Gorton’s and Chef Antoni on this initiative,” said Craig Morris, CEO of GAPP, in a statement. “Antoni’s exuberance and mad chef skills will no doubt do just that - building buzz and creating a whole new energy and presence for this delicious and nutritious fish.” 

When Gorton’s began working with Porowski on recipe development and marketing earlier this year, it was a natural partnership, Chris Hussey, vice president of marketing for the Gloucester, Massachusetts-based brand, told SeafoodSource. 

“Not only did Antoni grow up eating Gorton’s products; we also share a point of view on the positive improvement eating more seafood can make in consumers’ lives,” Hussey said.

Last year, the supplier upgraded most of its classic Gorton’s breaded and battered pollock products with higher quality ingredients and new formulations – including its first microwavable fish stick.

“Through our consumer research, we found that one reason people hesitate to buy frozen seafood is because they’re not sure it’s as good as fresh,” Hussey said. “So, Gorton’s invested in an upgrade to wild caught Alaskan pollock that is as close to fresh as you can get. We’ve elevated the quality, starting with the raw whole fillets of Alaskan pollock, frozen right after catch to lock in flavor and nutrition at the peak of freshness.”

Gorton’s enlisted Porowski to develop “some really tasty recipes using our new Fish Sticks and Fillets, made with the highest-quality and freshest-tasting ingredients,” Hussey said. 

Recipes included Baja Style Fish Tacos, New Orleans Style Fish ’N Chips, and Baked Crunchy Fish Fillets Puttanesca. 

“Many people have grown up with Gorton’s and continue to enjoy our products - whether it’s for themselves, family or friends. While breaded and battered fish sticks or fillets and ketchup is still a go-to, many people are also looking for ways to get creative at meal time with recipe inspiration,” Hussey said.

Gorton’s utilized the recipes to target millennial consumers and others, particularly families, Hussey added.

Gorton’s featured the recipes on its website and Porowski shared them in his Instagram stories for followers, on a series of local morning shows, and in consumer publications like Health.com and Us Weekly. 

Thanks to GAPP’s funding, Gorton’s and Porowski are teaming up again. The new marketing program includes the development of “simple and delicious recipes, with a focus on bringing millennials to the dinner table using convenient ingredients, like frozen fish, in new and exciting ways,” Hussey said.

The marketing campaign includes experiential, digital, social media, and public relations.

“I’m passionate about helping people make simple changes to upgrade meal time and incorporate more seafood into their diets,” Porowski said in the GAPP statement. “The best part is that these changes don’t need to mean spending lots more time and money, thanks to Gorton’s and its high-quality wild-caught Alaska pollock products that are freezer staples.” 

“Antoni’s authentic love for our products, passion for food and role as a make-over expert have made him a wonderful voice for our brand. We’re excited to reveal what’s next,” Hussey said.

GAPP has set aside USD 3 million (EUR 2.7 million) for 2019 and 2020 for its North American Partnership Program. It has awarded nearly USD 1.3 million (EUR 1.2 million) to date for Alaska pollock marketing programs.

Contributing Editor



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