KFC Japan Promotes Pink Salmon Sandwich

A salmon sandwich marketing campaign Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan Ltd. launched earlier this month is being well received by Japanese customers.

Company spokesman Ichiro Takatsuki said the fish, karafuto-masu (pink salmon), are caught in the Okhotsk Sea by Russian vessels out of Etorofu, one of four islands north of Hokkaido, and delivered directly to ports in Hokkaido for processing in Japan.

The breaded fish fillets were developed by KFC Japan and produced by a Japanese supplier. This menu item is only sold in Japan and is not connected with a KFC salmon nugget campaign in China at the end of 2007.

The sandwich consists of the fillet, a whole wheat bun, thinly sliced onion, lettuce, cheese and herb mayonnaise. The breaded fillet is pre-fried at the processor for faster preparation in the KFC restaurants.

The salmon sandwich sells for JPY 360 each (USD 4.05, EUR 3.15). With a medium drink and small French fries it costs JPY 620 (USD 6.98, EUR 5.43).

While the company declined to reveal sales statistics, the store manager of a KFC in Toyonaka City, near Osaka, said that it is a popular item with steady sales. The promotional campaign runs from 8 January to 4 February, but the item will stay on the menu until mid-May. Tokyo-based Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan operates about 1,150 outlets.

In contrast to the Japanese campaign, the KFC salmon nugget campaign in China used wild Alaskan salmon.

Joe Jacobson, international program coordinator for Asia at the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, said that ASMI was aware of the promotion but did not play a direct role in it.

"KFC independently used and identified wild Alaska pink and chum salmon in their salmon nugget promotion. Since that time, ASMI China and KFC have kept in contact about collaborating on possible future promotions using wild and sustainable Alaska salmon (pink and/or chum) as well as whitefish," he said. However, no concrete plans have been made.

In that campaign, which ran from 5 November to 2 December 2007, the menu item was promoted at KFC outlets throughout China with a broad variety of media exposure, including TV commercials, newspaper ads, billboards in subway stations and on streets and large posters at each outlet. A set of five nuggets was advertised for 10 Chinese yuan (USD 1.46, EUR 1.13).

KFC was the first U.S. fast food company to open in China. It remains the largest with about 2,300 restaurants in 450 Chinese cities at the end of 2008. 


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